The Clonmel Oil Chase takes centre stage in Ireland on Thursday and Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway is back with his best bets for the fixture at the County Tipperary track.
|What||Clonmel Oil Chase Day|
|Where||Clonmel Racecourse, Clonmel, Co Tipperary|
|When||12:42-3:53, Thursday 17th November|
|How to watch||Racing TV or bet365's Sports Live Streaming|
The Clonmel Oil Service Station Handicap Hurdle (1.47) is an open contest, but it's worth taking a chance on Plan Of Attack being able to capitalise on the switch back to hurdling.
Henry De Bromhead's useful cross-country chaser aims to cash in on an 8lb lower hurdles mark and his ability to handle all types of obstacles in cross-country races bodes well for his versatility. That gives me confidence he will be able to take the return to hurdles in his stride.
Plan Of Attack would probably have been trained for the cross-country race at Cheltenham's November meeting and this will have been an afterthought following its cancellation. With that in mind, it seems clear the nine-year-old will be fully wound up after a 201-day absence.
The drop to 2m is the main concern, but cross-country races are often slowly run before turning into a dash up the straight and Plan Of Attack should have the speed to cope.
Useful 5lb claimer Conor Brassil takes the ride and De Bromhead is in flying form.
The T.A. Morris Memorial Irish EBF Mares Chase (2.23) is an interesting Listed event for females and the classy Elimay should prove too good for this opposition on her return.
The eight-year-old has been one of the outstanding female chasers of her generation and she capped a superb campaign last season when landing the Mares' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. She went one better in that race than she had the previous year and is consistent.
She is miles better than this grade on her best form, which includes a three-length second to Allaho on her return from a short break at Thurles last year. That proved she can go well fresh and she has recorded several of her best Racing Post Ratings returning after a break.
Elimay was well beaten by the re-opposing Scarlet And Dove at the Punchestown Festival on her last start, but that was after a hard race at Cheltenham and she is fancied to reverse the places, especially when considering Scarlet And Dove is also returning from a long break.
Had Scarlet And Dove had a fitness advantage, it might have been a fairer contest, but I'm expecting Elimay to make a winning return on her way to yet another successful campaign.
Blue Lord is a warm order for the feature Clonmel Oil Chase (2.53), but he needs to improve to match the form shown by Tornado Flyer and Darasso, and this is his first run for 203 days.
It's quite a stiff task on his seasonal reappearance and Tornado Flyer might also need the run after 180 days off. Pencilfulloflead is also returning from a long absence and, with that in mind, it's worth taking a chance on the race-fit Darasso, who can spring a minor surprise.
Darasso had lots of good form over hurdles last season, including a victory in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse and a seven-length third behind Honeysuckle in a Grade 1 at Punchestown.
He is rated equally as good over fences on official figures and has run two excellent races since returning to chasing this season. He finished second behind Hewick in the Galway Plate in July and took third behind Busselton and Recite A Prayer in the Kerry National last time.
The return to this intermediate trip should suit Darasso and Recite A Prayer gave the Listowel form some substance when third in the Cork Grand National on his next outing. A 57-day break since his Kerry National run will help Darasso and he rates value against Blue Lord.