Fergall ran a superb race for us earlier at 33/1, and when he scooted 6L clear after the 3rd last I was jumping around like a lunatic. The first time cheekpieces really sharpened up his jumping and, though he was no match for the impressive winner, he kept on well for a clear 3rd. Jimmy Mullins will be delighted with that run and he will be aimed at similar races on nice ground in the Spring.
|Back Before Dawn is potentially well treated on chase handicap debut.
Tomorrow I fancy one at Thurles, though confidence is not quite as high with this one as it was with Fergall. Back Before Dawn makes her chase handicap debut in the 1.00, a 3m heat, and I think she is potentially very well treated off a mark of 102, with talented young claimer Conor Brassil taking off another 7lb. He has had just 5 rides for Sandra Hughes, and he has won on two of them.
This 7yo daughter of Oscar won her maiden over 16f at Leopardstown back in January 2014, and she was given an opening mark of 114. She ran poorly on her seasonal reappearance in 2015 (20f sft) off that rating, and it was a similar story in a mare’s event over the same trip, this time on yielding. However, back in handicap company next time out she ran a huge race at Punchestown off 110, relishing the step up to 22f on soft and keeping on well for 2nd.
Her form nosedived after that hugely promising run, and she was well beaten on her next three hurdle starts. Given her pedigree it was no surprise that connections decided to try their hand at chasing, but there wasn’t much encouragement to be gleaned from her first try at Kilbeggan (20f gd). However, she was never going to be suited by the ground on that occasion, and there was a lot more to like about her run at Naas (19f soft) back from a break in November.
It was clear that she wasn’t going to Naas to win the race, but she did jump really nicely in rear before staying on well in the home straight past beaten horses to finish 6th of 17. She shaped as though she was crying out for further, but Hughes dropped her back to 16f (sft) next time at Wexford. She was again hunted round in rear under Roger Loughran, and she eventually finished 6th of 14, beaten 30L for the win.
She has been handed a mark of just 102 for her handicap chase debut, and Hughes steps her up massively in trip to 24f. With Brassil’s claim Back Before Dawn is effectively 15lb lower than when a closing 2nd beaten just 1L over timber at Punchestown (22f soft) and if she can reproduce that over the bigger obstacles she has to have every chance of reaching the frame at odds of 25/1.
STEVOS’ SELECTION: 1.00 THURLES: BACK BEFORE DAWN E/W 25/1