Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

No ‘ifs’ or buts at Downpatrick

Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney is still on a high after winning the Galway Plate with Ballyholland who will be on parade at Downpatrick tomorrow.

That being the case, McBratney will be full of optimism for the chances of Essifer who missed Galway but this time runs in the Pat O’Hare Bookmakers Rosebank Hurdle.

Essifer is a course winner for he was successful at the last Downpatrick meeting in July when ridden by Ruby Walsh.

In fact, that day Walsh gave an exhibition of race riding which has rarely, if ever, been equalled.

Davy Russell is in the saddle this time and he is the leading Irish jockey at present and is obviously no slouch.

In addition, Andy McNamara rides Indian Sprint for Edward O’Grady and should be prominent while Walsh rides Tribes And Banner for Charlie Swan and won’t be out of it.

It is a small race but, as McBratney said, Essifer loves the course and the ground will be right for him.

He won very easily the last day when booted home in style by Walsh and should follow up with another success to keep McBratney in clover for the rest of the week.

Willie Mullins who rarely turns up in time to see his horses win at Downpatrick, must have a special plan for it seems to pay off.

He missed out the last time when Tawaagg won the first leg of a double, while back in February, Mullins wasn’t there to see Ballytrim win the Ulster National.

“I’ll probably miss the first race this time,” and, that being the case, Red Hot Poker who represents Mullins in the www.patohare.com Maiden Hurdle, will probably win in his absence.

Walsh rides Red Hot Poker and it is hard to oppose him although Paul Carberry will be supported on the Gordon Elliott-trained Ballylanigan.

Walsh looks something of a good thing in the Mares Maiden Hurdle on board Luca Brasi, named after the character in the film, The Godfather.

Barry Geraghty should go well on Ballynafagh Lady for Peter McCreery, while Grand Opera may score for Elliott who is having a vintage season, in the Handicap Hurdle.

In another Handicap Hurdle, Philip Rothwell could have the answer with Four County Lad and he has bright prospects of a double with Fairwood Meldy.

As ever, Mullins can score in the bumper with his son Patrick riding Maid From Milan.

Patrick has already had a number of winners here and the combination will be hard to resist as winning bumpers has been their forte.

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