A cheeky bit of Grade 3 action at Clonmel this afternoon, where seven go to post over 22 furlongs.
Gigginstown have three runners and retained rider Bryan Cooper opts for Willie Mullins’s Stone Hard over Roman Gold and Arkwrisht.
There seems to be money for him as well, though the form book certainly doesn’t give me any confidence and I get the feeling I’ve missed the memo.
He was thought good enough to be entered into Grade 1 company at Naas recently in a race won by his much-hyped stablemate Bellshill, but he was pulled up that day and didn’t look to travel so the extra two furlongs today doesn’t strike me as a positive.
Placing in second that day and just five lengths behind Bellshill was Last Encounter, who went off at 66/1.
That’s very good form and the horse is fairly consistent, having only finished outside the top three once in eight runs.
The niggling feeling is he’s not quite good enough even at this lower level, though the drifting 11/2 price is very tempting.
He’s also been on the go non-stop since summer so any improvement is unlikely – essentially we’d be betting that that run sets the form standard.
It’s an argument made more compelling when you consider the favourite, the hat-trick seeking Westend Star for Gordon Elliot, finished six lengths behind the third in that Grade 1 race, Anibale Fly, in a Navan maiden earlier in the season.
He’s certainly improved since, though, and has seven lengths in hand over the Arkwrisht on their last run, for which he is penalised at the weights and therefore makes little appeal at 9/4.
Off the back of a maiden hurdles success over Christmas, Dermot Weld runs Dont Tell No One on just the third start of an injury-hit, yet unbeaten career.
This represents a big step up in class and, though I like the profile, the 4/1 price doesn’t appeal – plenty disagree, though, as it’s being backed.
It might pay to keep things simple and the value bet is Last Encounter each-way at 11/2.
0.5pts each-way Last Encounter @11/2, Clonmel 14:25
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