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The Mandarin’s Sunday Selections for 21st January 2024

The Mandarin’s Sunday Selections from Thurles & Lingfield


Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle 12.30
On Lovers Walk
Gerard Kelleher might hold the key to the opener with On Lovers Walk. He was a 3 length runner-up in another Auction Maiden at Limerick, and this race doesn’t look like it’s going to take much winning. Shane O’Callaghan’s 5lb claim is a handy offset to his mark, and should give him the edge over Emmet Mullins’s Charlie Buckett

Carey Glass Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase (Grade 2) 1.05
She won the Dawn Run Mares Novices Hurdle by a canter at Limerick, and although the depth of that Grade 2 was questionable, the re-opposing Harmonya Maker was a distant third. This time it looks like Silent Approach will be the one to take on the selection, and going back against her own sex should be in shallower waters than the Grade 3 Novice Chase she ran in last Sunday. However, that’s a quick turnaround to line up here, so Hauturiere looks to have this race laid out for her

Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase (Grade 2) 1.35
Allaho (nb)
It’s hard to ignore the appeal of Willie Mullins’s Allaho for this Grade 2 contest. Last seen a length and a half third to Hewick in the King George VI at Kempton on Boxing Day, this drop back in trip should suit, and memories of how he destroyed the field in two successive Ryanair Chases in 2021 & 2022 still linger. Obviously, after a long spell on the sidelines, he’s had to prove all the talent remains, but emphatically did that in the Clonmel Oil Chase on his return last November. The one to beat, with the bookmakers taking no chances

W.T. O’Grady Memorial Irish EBF Novice Hurdle 2.45
High Class Hero
Willie Mullins seems to be getting his string into tip-top condition before the Dublin Racing Festival in two weeks, and High Class Hero might be his best bet of today. Unbeaten now in four starts under rules, he’s got Black Type in the form book now with a Listed win at Limerick last time out. Not much bang for your buck, but exciting and hard to oppose


Weatherbys Digital Solutions Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle 12.40
Only By Night (nap)
Gavin Cromwell can make the trip over from Ireland worthwhile with Only By Night. She lines up on a four-timer after a brace of wins in Bumpers, before making a seamless transition to hurdling when a 10 length winner at Naas, never really stretched. Very much the one to beat, with Pawapuri heading the list of dangers

Download The Racing App Now Lightning Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 1.15
Master Chewy
A quality renewal in store where a case can be made for all five lining up. The chance is taken on Master Chewy though, who is progressing nicely for Nigel Twiston-Davies, scoring in the Grade 2 Wayward Lad at Kempton last time out. He’s been running well in some hot handicaps too, second to the re-opposing Djelo at Aintree in November. There was less than a length between them with Djelo 3lbs better off, but they meet on level terms this time in a Graded contest. Master Chewy to reverse those placings with Matata to chase them home

Download The Racing App Now Godstone Handicap Chase 1.50
Triple Trade
Joe Tizzard has got his string into fine fettle this season, and arguably Triple Trade is his biggest improver. This Norse Dancer gelding is four from his last six in a run going back to April, and although the Handicapper has taken note, there’s every chance he’s still ahead of his mark. Irish raider The King Of Prs is on a roll having won his last three, so commands respect for Gavin Cromwell, while Kim Bailey’s First Flow is a class act on his day but does has to give lumps of weight away to the whole field here. Triple Trade to continue to progress and defy this new mark

Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap Hurdle 2.25
Nurse Susan
The lightly raced Nurse Susan makes plenty of appeal for this competitive Handicap Hurdle. A decent novice hurdler in the winter of 2021/22, she was a solid fourth in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at that season’s Cheltenham Festival before not being seen trackside until last November. Back to winning ways at Prestbury Park last month and looks the one to follow here

Fitzdares Fleur De Lys Chase 3.00
L’homme Presse
Venetia Williams’s L’homme Presse has not started under rules for over a year, but has such an impressive record fresh must be a warm order favourite. Last seen following Bravemansgame home before falling at the last in the King George VI at Kempton on Boxing Day 2022, whether all the talent remains asks the question, but if all is fine, he’ll prove hard to beat. Every chance

Fitzdares Surry National Handicap Chase 3.35
Hold That Taught
The hat-trick seeking Hold That Taught will be a danger to all if his jumping holds up for this marathon event. He does put in the occasional error, so Charlie Deutsch will be keen to get him into a good rhythm, but Hold That Taught is certainly talented enough to take this. The well-handicapped Animal rates a big threat for Sue Smith, but Hold That Taught gets the nudge

The Mandarin

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