The countdown is on for Longines Irish Champions Weekend, during which yours truly will keep you informed on this website with a live blog and hopefully a winner or three.
This has become a cracking festival and it will be much better again when the Curragh is finally finished. There are four Group One races on the eight-race card with pride of place going to the Comer Group International Irish St Leger, the final Irish Classic of the season on Sunday.
Before that on Saturday at Leopardstown there is the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes and the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes.
There is lower-grade action aplenty this weekend, however, with the Listowel extravaganza commencing.
Shane Shortall is a good booking for Whoyakodding in this conditional riders' handicap and the seven-year-old is due a victory at this stage.
Quite a strong traveller, he stayed on to very good effect at Tramore in mid-August when an 8-1 poke, and he should like this track too.
Little more is needed for his breakthrough after 20 starts.
Anthony McCann, of course, took over the reins after the death of Oliver Brady, trying to replace the irreplaceable.
It should not be underestimated how important such training operations are in racing backwaters like County Monaghan. He is doing a decent job, too, and in the past three weeks he has had nine runners, with a winner, a second and a third.
Konig Hall is 4lb below his last winning mark and the long straight will suit him here.
He has been in fine form over jumps, has a lovely draw and, assuming he has a bit too much stamina for Gavin Cromwell’s Wavepoint, he has to go very close if anywhere near his best.
Parisian is by a stallion I like in Champs Elysees, who will get some good jumpers, and this gelding has taken to it seamlessly.
A winner off 60 on the level in England, he needed just one go in first-time cheekpieces to readily beat Smiling Eliza at Roscommon, and she is certainly one of the main dangers here.
What I really admired about Parisian’s debut hurdles performance was how he readily put the race to bed between the last two. That was the strongest juvenile maiden run in the country so far.
Gavin Cromwell was expecting a bigger run than the market did when Aasleagh Dawn ran at Wexford, when – stepping up in trip after winning a moderate maiden at Downpatrick – she did little other than stay.
She looks to have a good attitude and, giving weight away here in an ordinary enough mares’ handicap, has strong claims.
Remaining at 2m4f is to her benefit.
Johnny Ward's weekend Ireland tips:
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