Boxing Day Limerick Preview – Boylesports Faugheen Novice Chase
Analysis of the Boylesports Faugheen Novice Chase
Limerick host a competitive seven-race card this Boxing Day, including the Grade 1 Boylesports Faugheen Novice Chase. Our tipsters have provided their thoughts on each individual runner as well as a tip for the race included.
This race has been dominated by Willie Mullins in recent years but he holds no entries in this year’s contest. Gordon Elliot will be hoping to add to his sole victory in this race with Dounikos in 2017 with FAROUK D’ALENE who has only tasted defeat once in his career, that coming in Grade 3 company at Navan when over hurdles as a five-year-old.
Farouk D’alene was successful however on his final hurdle start when seeing off subsequent Albert Bartlett winner Vanillier over 3miles at Limerick by 0.75l. The Gigginstown owned gelding made his return earlier this month and made the ideal start to life over fences when seeing off the challenge of Blue Sari over 2m4f at Navan. That was another strong staying performance from him and it’s surprising to see him dropped slightly back down in trip for his second chase start.
It certainly looks interesting that Joseph O’Brien decided to send FIRE ATTACK over fences on his return but it looked a good decision as the six-year-old was a comfortable winner of a Beginners Chase at Wexford back in October.
There wasn’t much depth to that contest but he still won in taking style and jumped well in the main in that 2m4f race. Fire Attack should kick on now that he has recorded the first win since his bumper days as a four-year-old but he will need to raise his game once more as most of his rivals have achieved more over hurdles and over the larger obstacles.
Gavin Cromwell’s GABYNAKO was a smart hurdler on his best day and put in some notable performances including when finishing third to Henry De Bromhead’s Bob Olinger in Grade 1 company at Naas in January this year.
Despite only winning once over hurdles, Gabynako has looked much more comfortable over fences and has posted three solid performances including when narrowly missing out on Grade 1 honours behind Beacon Edge last time out at Fairyhouse. Connections will see this as a decent opportunity for him to get back to winning ways and he holds leading claims.
Seven-year-old LIEUTENANT COMMAND regressed in his performances after landing a Galway maiden hurdle back in October 2020 but was faced with some difficult tasks over hurdles including at Grade 3 and Grade 2 events at Navan.
After another two underwhelming performances in April this year, connections decided to embark on his chasing career and Noel Meade’s charge made a winning start when landing a beginners Chase in November over 2m5f. There’s a chance this former point-to-pointer will be better suited by further but nonetheless, it was a welcome return to winning ways for him.
LIFETIME AMBITION finally found the winning formula Erie win the year when taking hurdle contests at Limerick and Punchestown. The six-year-old looked a natural on chasing debut on reappearance in October and made all the running to see of Beacon Edge and Vanillier.
However, things didn’t quite go to plan last time out when sent off favourite for the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse but he could never get into a rhythm and gradually weakened out of contention in the closing stages where Beacon Edge turned the tables after their previous encounter. That latest effort may be best forgiven considering it was on good ground and he has looked more at home on proper winter ground.
Paddy Corkery’s seven-year-old MASTER MCSHEE lined up against top prospects over hurdles including Appreciate It in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown in February and he met another talented rival on chasing debut in the form of Bob Olinger at Gowran Park over 2m4f.
The seven-year-old stayed on to take third that day but was no match for the exciting star novice of Henry De Bromhead’s. Master Mcshee will come on for that reappearing run but looks to have plenty to do in order to trouble the judge on Boxing Day.
Trainer Gavin Cromwell is also represented by the 2019 Albert Bartlett winner VANILLIER who has certainly shown that he is a force to reckon with at Grade 1 level and certainly improved upon his first chase start at Down Royal in October when slamming his three rivals by 26l in Grade 2 company at Punchestown last time out over an extended 2m6f.
The six-year-old should get away with the softer ground as he has previous form on heavy going but he may struggle to cope with the drop back in distance as he has always looked one for staying trips.
Joseph O’Brien also holds an entry for six-year-old GLOBAL EQUITY who landed a novice chase event at Galway on the penultimate run under jockey J J Slevin.
However, the mare was a well-beaten fifth behind the likes of Lifetime Ambition and Gabynako at Fairyhouse last time out and will do well to reverse those placings on her fourth start over fences.
Big Race Verdict
A few of these may find the trip on the short side including Vanillier and Farouk D’alene who have both shown in previous starts that their future may exclusively lie over 3mile trips. GABYNAKO is one of two representatives for Gavin Cromwell and his six-year-old may have landed Grade 1 honours last time out if not for making a couple of late mistakes. He holds leading claims at this trip and is the form choice.