Sunday’s Daily Double – 5/1 double taking in races at Thurles and Ayr

Jon Vine takes rolls his NAP and Next Best into this Daily Double, covering races at Thurles and Ayr on Sunday 19th January.

As part of our Daily Tips, I’ve rolled my two best bets on Sunday into my Daily Double. Best odds available here with William Hill.

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Sunday’s Daily Double

1:35pm Thurles W.T. O’Grady Memorial Irish EBF Novice Hurdle 2m6½f

Festival D’Ex ran out an impressive winner on his first start over hurdles, scoring a snug two-length victory without ever really being asked a question. Gordon Elliott’s charge is unbeaten in two starts, having bolted up in a bumper at Punchestown last spring, and his breeding suggests a step-up in trip could bring about further improvement.

Yet, the leap from 16 to 22-and-a-half is quite steep, especially on a course like Thurles with it’s uphill run to the line. So, with that in mind, I’m keen to side with MONKFISH (NB), who’s proven over this sort of trip and looks a promising stayer in the making.

Willie Mullins’ charge jumped and travelled poorly on his first start over obstacles, going down to Diol Ker by seven lengths. Although keen again, Monkfish’s jumping was much more convincing on his second outing at Fairyhouse, winning as easily as you’d expect a horse who was backed into 1/ 2 before the off to win by.

I’m expecting Monkfish will be held up as front-running stablemate, Vis La Toi cuts out the early running. He may ideally want to ground a little more testing than it is, but I still think Monkfish will have a little too much in the tank for his rivals in this competitive race.

1:50pm Ayr Start Your RacingTV Free Trial Now Novices’ Chase (Class 4) 2m½f

Back in December, I tipped Ravenhill Road to score in a two-mile Novices’ Chase, where favourite I’m To Blame and the interesting Glinger Flame looked the most likely dangers. As it turns out, it was the outsider of the field DALI MAIL (NAP) who came through to claim victory and I couldn’t have been more impressed.

Donald Whillians’ settled into the race nicely and loomed into contention at the second last. Dali Mail soon took command of the race, jumping the final flight beautifully before seeing off I’m To Blame with the minimum of fuss.

The handicapper has upped his rating by 13-pounds as a result and Dali Mail has been slapped with a six-pound penalty. Yet, Callum Whillians’ claimer means that penalty is halved and Dali Mail was awarded an RPR of 140 for that bloodless success, so I doubt a career-high mark of 136 will prove to be beyond him. Dali Mail’s best performance over hurdles came on bottomless ground here at Ayr, and I’m expecting the market leader to be very, very difficult to beat.

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