THE PUNTER'S EYE: Four horses to kickstart the week at Ballinrobe this evening

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

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After the heights of Punchestown last week, and the fanfare of the curtain coming down on another racing season, Ballinrobe keeps the National Hunt flag flying this evening. Our expert has had a look through their evening card to find the value bets of the meeting, including a couple of massive each-way options. 

The 17:20 is a trappy hurdle contest over two miles and a furlong, where SWORD FIGHTER (15/8) and LANDSMAN (5/2) are vying from favouritism. Both hold solid claims with SWORD FIGHTER taking a steep drop in class having been running in defeat to the likes of MEGA FORTUNE, while LANDSMAN comes here on the back of a good third behind MERI DEVIE in December. One at a bigger price that could run into a place is BRACKLIN PRINCESS (18/1). With nine declared for the race and just one non-runner, bookies will be paying out each-way on three places. BRACKLIN PRINCESS could certainly give the market leaders something to worry about considering her most recent performances. She was eight lengths third behind the re-opposing INEFFABLE at Tramore two weeks ago. As well as that, she came in ahead of the likes of INEFFABLE and LANDSMAN in a maiden hurdle won by DINARIA DES OBEAUX at Cork in December. With a swing in the weights with most of her rivals here, and a three-pound claimer on board, she can certainly run into the frame at huge odds.

POLITICAL THEATRE (13/8) is a strong favourite in the 18:20 race following a good run to be third behind MISS EYECATCHER on soft ground at Wexford last month, but a case can be made for a number of the others. FINTARA goes for the in-form Jessica Harrington yard and will be partnered by Robbie Power, while DAWN RAIDER is improving with every run and has Ruby Walsh for company. However, a risk is taken on RIVERRAINSHINE (20/1), who although miles behind SIZINGUPTHEAMAZON at Limerick in April, has decent form elsewhere in the book. Last October, he was just 11 lengths in arrears to POTTERS POINT, a horse that went on to bigger and better races. Gordon Elliott's charge was just five lengths behind the ultra impressive DON'T TOUCH IT at Punchestown last week and that gives the form of RIVERRAINSHINE a boost, considering his line with POTTERS POINT. RIVERRAINSHINE has been in and out since but ran well on good ground last July at this track, finishing third behind ANTIMATTER. He can outrun his massive odds in this competitive race. 

There is little to choose between three or four rivals at the head of the market in the 19:20 race, with DEFINITE EARL (5/1), EIGHT TILL LATE (9/2), RUFINO (9/2) and WILLIAM DU BERLAIS (13/2) all similarly priced. It may be advisable to stick with DEFINITE EARL (5/1) who has been getting better with each recent run. He followed a respectable fourth behind Punchestown winner WOODLAND OPERA with an even better third behind Gordon Elliott's POTTERS POINT at Fairyhouse two weeks ago. He was 13 lengths down on that rival but POTTERS POINT has shown steady improvement since, while DEFINITE EARL also finished ahead of O'CEALLAIGH that day. O'CEALLAIGH is a decent yardstick and DEFINITE EARL can come on from that run on his handicap chase debut. He also has course winning form to his name having beaten IBSEN here on good ground in May 2015. 

FETHARD PLAYER (7/4) is an exciting chasing recruit having his first run over the larger obstacles tonight at Ballinrobe in the 19:50 race on the card. It's always a risk backing a horse that hasn't run over fences before, but this one's hurdling form is classy enough to suggest he can have a fruitful chasing career. He was last seen coming home just eight lengths behind VROUM VROUM MAG in last year's Punchestown Champion Hurdle, ultimately taking 4th place in a race containing MY TENT OR YOURS and IDENTITY THIEF. Before that he had finished second in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham behind the impressive SUPERB STORY. If he can translate even a percentage of that level of that hurdles form over fences, he could be a force to be reckoned with. If he is in that high class chasing bracket, this could be a manageable starting point, with BABY JAKE and BLACK WARRIOR representing the main dangers. 

SELECTION SNAPSHOT:

Ballinrobe 17:20 - Bracklin Princess - EW - 18/1

Ballinrobe 18:20 - Riverrainshine - EW - 20/1

Ballinrobe 19:20 - Definite Earl - WIN - 5/1

Ballinrobe 19:50 - Fethard Player - WIN - 7/4