It’s a busy start to the racing week on Monday with six meetings scheduled across Britain and Ireland.
Flat racing comes from Brighton, Thirsk, Fairyhouse and Kempton (AW) alongside jumps cards from Listowel and Worcester.
Amongst our Monday fancies is Mansa Musa in the Listed Ballyhane Blenheim Stakes at Fairyhouse.
14:55 Thirsk – Marie’s Secret @ 5/2
Adrian Nicholls and Connor Murtagh have solid claims with MARIE’S SECRET in the Patrick Hibbert-Foy Memorial Nursery this afternoon at Thirsk.
The Land Force filly ran well over this course and distance (good to firm) in July when a close third in a novice contest and comes back here after finishing third in a Ripon nursery (6f, soft) in last month’s handicap bow.
She was one of the runners that forced the pace in that event and, in the end, it was the two patiently ridden contenders that finished first and second. It was an encouraging effort in the circumstances and the winner, Granny Budgie, obliged again next time at Hamilton before a fine third in a valuable contest at Doncaster’s Betfred St Leger Festival last week.
Marie’s Secret handles this track and she may not require improvement to be a real danger back here. She’s on the Most Napped list via the Betfred Betfinder and is taken to bag this prize.
15:20 Listowel – Common Practice @ 10/3
Day two of the famous Listowel Harvest Festival sees the action switch to jumps and the feature is the Listed Liam Healy Memorial Lartigue Hurdle, a handicap contest over two-miles with €36,000 on offer to the winner.
The interesting one is COMMON PRACTICE for Joseph O’Brien and Mark Walsh in the JP McManus colours.
He won a Galway maiden hurdle last October and ran well in good company on his next two starts. He was fourth behind Lossiemouth – the subsequent Triumph Hurdle winner – at Fairyhouse in December and then second to another Willie Mullins hotpot, Blood Destiny, at the same venue in January.
He was a 10/1 chance in a €90,000 handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival the following month but got no further than the third flight before unseating Luke Dempsey in a red-hot contest won by Gaelic Warrior.
Off since, he should go well in first-time cheekpieces on his comeback and a mark of 129 can be within his reach with Walsh back on board for the first time since that Galway win 11 months ago.
18:25 Fairyhouse – Mansa Musa @ 5/4
Aidan O’Brien has won the Ballyhane Blenheim Stakes on nine occasions and looks to Edwardian in his attempt to get into double figures. The No Nay Never colt came up short in the Acomb at York last month, finishing last of six. A return to slower ground can be a help to him now but, even so, he may do well to lower the colours of MANSA MUSA for trainer Diego Dias.
Brazilian-born Dias, now based in Kildare, struck with Mansa Musa in a valuable maiden at Glorious Goodwood last month, the Ten Sovereigns colt making every yard over the 6f trip (good to soft) and holding on gamely at the end.
He stepped up on that effort in defeat since, making the running once more in the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh (6f, good) and only giving best late on to Letsbefrankaboutit from the Paddy Twomey stable.
A replication of that may be good enough now eased in grade and Mansa Musa is taken to burn off these six rivals from the front as he’s drawn ideally in gate one for this €24,000 prize.