PATIENCE is a virtue which is something I’m often telling my kids, although I may be something of a hypocrite as it’s not a trait that I exhibit particularly well when the clock is creeping around to five o’clock on a Friday afternoon!
However, one cannot accuse Dublin trainer Pat Rooney of not possessing plenty of the above as he saddled his first winner for nine years in the form of Witness Of Fashion at Fairyhouse on Saturday.
I loved it afterwards when Rooney told the press: “We’ve been hitting the crossbar a few times lately and it’s great to finally get that winner. I’ve had my license for 10 years – I had a winner the first year, but none since.”
To cap it all Rooney landed a gamble in the process with the four and three-quarter length winner being backed in from 14-1 to 7-1 and I’m sure there would have been a monster of a party in Oldtown that evening.
In Cheltenham news it appears highly likely that Annie Power will now contest either the Champion or World Hurdles and not the Mares’ Hurdle and if you fancy the unbeaten mare for either of the first two contests, you can back her for both with the assurance that we are non runner, money back on them.
Another horse who booked his ticket to England was Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase third Arvika Ligeonniere who returned to winning ways in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown.
However, his victory did not immediately change his odds for the Queen Mother Champion Chase as while he is virtually unbeatable going right-handed, he seems to struggle on a left-handed course and has not won on such a track for four outings, including at Cheltenham last year.
This Sunday’s it’s the Irish Hennessy at Leopardstown and I’m going to opt for Lexus Chase fifth Lyreen Legend who was talked up by Curragh conjuror Dessie Hughes last week.
Now my fancy was beaten eight and a quarter lengths last time but given the circumstances, I think that was a fair effort. First, the winner was Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth, but also it was his first run since Punchestown in April and Hughes is adamant that he will strip a lot fitter at the weekend. I’m sure there’s a big one in this guy and he wasn’t far away when runner-up to Lord Windermere in last year’s RSA Chase.
The Tullow Tank won’t be a huge price for the Deloitte Hurdle on the same card but I was really impressed with the manner of this fellow’s win in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at the same venue over Christmas.
His handler Philip Fenton reported last week that he has really blossomed since that victory which is good enough for me as last time after shaking off a challenger fairly easily, he really powered to the line in the manner of a tank. Sorry! After Sunday I’m sure he’ll give a good account of himself in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Turning to the footy there’s a very important game at the lower reaches of the Premier League on Saturday when Crystal Palace take on West Brom and I’m going for the latter outfit at a current 19-10.
Granted Liverpool were much the better side in the first half when they played my selection on Sunday with the Reds’ Kolo Toure gifting the Baggies their equaliser in the 1-1 draw, but West Brom were on top in the second period and deserved a point despite coming under some fierce Liverpool pressure near the end.
Palace have come alive since Tony Pulis took over but I feel West Brom are better.
Saturday 3pm West Brom to beat Crystal Palace
Sunday Leopardstown 2.15pm The Tullow Tank
Sunday Leopardstown 3.50pm Lyreen Legend