Friday’s Race Of The Day – Runner-by-runner preview of Listed Mares’ Hurdle at Thurles

Jon Vine takes a look through the runners taking part in this year’s Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle and provides readers with his tips for Thurles on Friday 10th January.

As part of our Daily Tips service, I’ve taken a look at each of the runners in Friday’s race of the day at Thurles and highlighted a Willie Mullins’ runner to back.

Friday’s Race Of The Day at Thurles

Ard Abhainn

Started season with decent fourth in a Listed bumper, before sealing comfortable victory on maiden hurdles debut, where sent off as the 4/6 favourite. Finished a two-length third behind Minella Melody in Listed race at Punchestown in December. Drops back to two miles, having run two over two-and-a-half. Should be a player.

Botani

Clocked an RPR of 212 when bolting up in a bumper back in April. Has been comprehensively beaten on all four starts since. Losing out by a combined distance of over 50 lengths in her two starts over hurdles. Hard to make a serious case.

Dolly Destination

Lost out by 26 lengths on lastest start. Had been very consistent up until that point, winning twice and finishing second three times in previous five starts. Has a little to find in terms of form and rating.

Flicker Flame

The least experienced of the bunch, having run just three times over hurdles. Finished second to Rebel Og here in October, and was then beaten as the Evens favourite on return to Thurles in November. Rated 86 on the flat and has plenty more to give over hurdles. Could mount a serious challenge.

Heaven Help Us (right) finishing second to Abacadabras in Grade One company over Christmas.

Heaven Help Us

Upset the applecart to beat future Grade Two winner, Master Debonair to win a maiden hurdle at Cheltenham in October. Then comfortably beaten in two mares’ races at Newbury, but produced another strong display to follow Abacadabras home in a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas. Brings the best form to the table and could be hard to beat. Well-beaten on all four starts on right-handed tracks though.

Mystery Stowaway

Finished last of seven in Grade Three in November. Ran well behind Elfile here, but beaten over 100-lengths on most recent maiden run at Leopardstown. Not up to the standard of some of these.

Rebel Og

Placed third and fourth on first couple of starts. Was then backed into favouritism in a two-and-a-half mile maiden, but fell at just the fifth hurdle. Comfortably beat Flicker Flame on most recent start over course-and-distance. More to come from her.

Sailingtobyzantium

Experienced point-to-pointer. Made debut under rules over three mile, but fell very early. Dropped back to two-and-a-half miles on next start and managed to carry odds of 25/1 to a surprise victory. Jumping not slick enough to suit races over the minimum distance.

Tara Dylan

Second-season novice. Only rated 112. Beaten by at least 12 lengths in last seven starts. Not really worth mentioning.

Verdict

Heaven Help Us would be a worthy winner and could take all the beating. Yet, she was beaten comfortably in two – albeit good quality – mares races at Newbury and her dismal record on right-handed tracks is offputting.

Ard Abhainn will come with a late run, but I’d rather side with REBEL OG (5/2 Coral). While clearly not one of Willie Mullins’ top young mares, I was impressed with the way Paul Townend’s mount brushed Flicker Flame aside here back in October. Decent ground is ideal and she has valuable course form in the bag. Rebel Og looks the value bet against the short-priced favourite.

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