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Ruby Walsh exclusive: Shaneshill is putting his reputation on the line, while there’a a cheeky each-way bet that could make for a very Abbey Christmas

Top jock Ruby Walsh rode a double at Tramore on Saturday (but didn't take a spin on the Waltzers) and now he's back to go through his five rides at Navan on Sunday - including Cheltenham Festival fancy, Shaneshill

by Ruby Walsh | December 12, 2014

11.55 Maiden Hurdle

Dollar And A Dream will have to improve considerably on his last two runs to win what is a fiercely competitive 30-runner maiden hurdle. Tony Martin thinks he is a nice horse but he hasn’t shown us much on the track yet. 30 runners is a ridiculously big field and it is going to be difficult to get involved unless he shows some improvement. He’ll have to leave his last run at Navan a long way behind to be in the mix here.

12.55 Novice Hurdle (Grade 2)

Shaneshill (below) clearly had really good bumper form and I was delighted with his first run over hurdles, when he won impressively at Fairyhouse last month. It wasn’t the greatest race in the world but all a horse can do is beat what is in front of him. He travelled well, he jumped well and he’s in good form at home, but tomorrow is a completely different test and a much better race. No More Heroes has a huge reputation and he was very good winning his maiden hurdle in Punchestown. Couleur France for Noel Meade hasn’t done too much wrong either.

It’s a very good race but somebody’s reputation will get dented here, hopefully it’s not ours.


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1.30 Handicap Hurdle (Grade B)

This is another competitive race, as you’d expect for the prize money. But Dara Tango ran a blinder in the Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle at Haydock over three miles finishing third. Watching that race, and looking back on it, I feel the step down to two-and-a-half miles will suit him, as he traveled really well that day but didn’t quite get home. He’s got a nice weight on his back but it’s a big competitive field so you’ll need a bit of luck. The 2m 4f course in Navan starts quite close to the last bend so it’s tricky enough to get a position, and you’ll need the rub of the green.

2.05 Beginners Chase

Jarry D’Honneur got sick just after he arrived from France and ended up missing all of last season. He’s been in training for a good while now, works nicely and schools well, but other than that I can’t tell you a whole pile. He seems to go well at home but it’s a shot in the dark. He came over with a nice reputation, and is form in France was good, so hopefully he can put in a clear round and put in a good race. Lots of Memories for P Fahey and Champagne James for my old man Ted Walsh are two good horses. Champagne James you’d imagine will improve for his run into second behind Valseur Lido at Punchestown, while Lots of Memories run in October was a good run (second to Band of Blood in Cork). There are two experienced horses with a good run under their belt, so Jarry D’Honneur needs to do things right and run a good race to build for the future.

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2.35 Foxrock Handicap Chase

Abbey Lane was travelling well in that Novice Chase that Valseur Lido won before falling last month. He has improved for that run at home and is working well but jumping has been the issue. It shouldn’t be as he’s a good horse to school, and jumps well at home, but he has ended up on the floor a couple of times in races. He’s a former winner of the Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown, has a nice weight on his back, and will handle the heavy ground so he’s a good each-way bet in a very competitive handicap chase.

It’s hard for punters to feel confident backing any horse off the back of a fall, especially a novice, but if this horse gets it right he’s a really good bet to make the frame.

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