15:19 Kelso

EMPIRE DE MAULDE (best price 9-4) was never likely to be fully effective over two miles here on his seasonal return, and so it proved, but at the same time he did more than enough to suggest he would be a more potent force when returning to a more suitable trip- such as today’s.

Better known for his exploits in and around three miles, James Ewart’s gelding was unsurprisingly taken off his feet by good quality two-milers a month ago, but despite being a long way behind at halfway, he stayed on to such good effect in the latter stages, he somehow managed to rescue the situation by finishing an honourable second to the in-form El Barracho. Sure to be all the straighter for his first outing for 58 days, the son of Spanish Moon returns to a distance that saw him take apart a competitive field at Aintree back in June and with today’s easier underfoot conditions also in his favour, a repeat of his victory here last December looks a distinct possibility.

Empire De Maulde - 1pt @ 9/4

15:37 Galway

JIVING JERRY (best price 7-2) represents a team going great guns at present and with himself part of a small group from the same yard who were able to post somewhere close to a career high performance last time out, James Barcoe’s gelding rates a cracking each-way bet at the morning odds.

A consistent performer at distances between 2m and 2m4f in the last year or so, the son of Jeremy was significantly upped in trip at Gowran last time out and although there’s was no way you could conclude he didn’t stay the three miles; he just didn’t quite have enough left in the tank to repel the likes of Tullybeg and Hewick, who proved too strong for him on the run in. Victorious over the minimum trip in a hugely competitive handicap at the Punchestown festival back in April, it’s clear the six-year-old thrives in a big-field, well-run handicap and, having also proved his suitability for today’s venue two runs ago in another red-hot affair, and his appreciation of soft ground many times in the past, he appears to have a bigger list of positives than most.

Jiving Jerry - 1pt e/w @ 7/2

16:05 Cheltenham

The victory of Bardenstown Lad here yesterday went along way to advertise the victory of TULLYBEG (NAP) (best price 3-1) at Navan two starts ago and with Gordon Elliott’s gelding following suit himself at Gowran last time out, he rates a confident choice to complete the hat trick.

Nowhere near expectations in two starts over fences during the summer period, that project was shelved in favour of reverting back to a discipline in which he’d already scored twice and the decision immediately reaped rewards as the son of Sholokhov landed a keenly-contested conditions hurdle at the Co Meath venue. Clocking a useful time into the bargain, the chestnut proved too strong for his five rivals a month ago and he went on to continue his progression by being successful his first foray into handicap company three weeks later. In what turned out to be a strongly-run race for the grade, the six-year-old travelled like a well-treated horse throughout and even though subsequent winner, Hewick, proved a persistent threat from two out, he battled on gamely to see off his chief challenger. Clearly right on top of his game at present, Tullybeg seems to thrive in an environment where the pace is strong from the outset and hailing from a yard whose runners all ran well here yesterday, there’s no obvious reason why he can’t keep that particular trend intact. Born Patriot, the other main Irish contender should turn out to be one of the chief threats albeit he has a bit to find with his old rival based on the Navan form.

Tullybeg - 1pt @ 3/1

16:35 Leopardstown

HE KNOWS NO FEAR (best price 6-1) produced a remarkable effort in a hot Group 3 contest here last week and with the performance not for the first time proving how well Luke Comer’s gelding appreciates this track, he’s strongly fancied to maintain his fine record over the same C&D back in handicap company.

Most renown for causing a 300-1 shock at the Dublin venue on just his second career start, the four-year-old colt has gone on to prove that victory was not a complete fluke and although there were a few bumps in the round in the ensuing period, he was once again making waves at his favourite track with decent back-to-back performance in two quality handicaps. Pitched into pattern company for the first time in the Desmond Stakes over today’s C&D back in August, the son of Mourayan was never a threat after not getting the clearest of runs but his display here last time out in a similar race left us in no doubt how well his game gets raised once meeting the climb for the line at his happy hunting ground. Indeed, with a furlong to run here seven days ago, he looked like he might pull off another big shock (sent off 125-1) in the Group 3 Trigo Stakes but in the end, his stamina over 1m2f just gave way and he had to settle for a minor role behind impressive winner Georgeville. That said, given the speed figure of the race, he ended up posting a career-high number on the clock despite finishing a four-length fourth, and a repeat of somewhere near the same level of form should see him right in the thick of the action again back in slightly less choppy waters.

He Knows No Fear - 1pt e/w @ 6/1

17:10 Leopardstown

For those of us who backed BOUNDLESS OCEAN (best price 11-4) here last week, the queue for the psychiatrist couch has only just subsided, but as the say, “in for a penny, in for a pound”, and Jim Bolger’s colt is well worth another opportunity to prove just how unlucky he was on his return to the Dublin venue.

The son of Teofilo created a favourable impression on his debut with the way he travelled through what proved to be a very strongly-run maiden won by Dark Vega and in typical style of the trainer, he was sent out just two later to not only race again, but to this time tackle Group 3 company. Despite this seemingly audacious move, the scopey juvenile was punted from 16-1 into 11-2 and for those who took part in the gamble, it felt like someone had stolen your wallet. After missing a beat at the start – something which he didn’t do on debut – he found himself in a poor position turning for home, but it was soon clear he was travelling as well as anything with two furlongs to run and all he needed was plenty of room in order for him to find top gear. Unfortunately, that failed to materialise as Luke McAteer sent him down a blind alley and by the time he’d wrestled his mount out of the pocket, there wasn’t enough distance of ground left for him to reel in the leaders. The way he hit the line, however, strongly suggested he would have won with a bit to spare with a clear run and with the experience gleaned from that unfortune episode likely not to be lost on him, this man mountain of a two-year-old can sign off for the season in the best possible fashion.

If there is to be a danger, FRENCH CLAIM (best price 11-2) looks to be the most likely based on his opening performance at Listowel and for that reason, Paddy Twomey’s colt is worth a small saver.

Extremely well-backed to land what appeared an ordinary maiden at the Co Kerry venue, the 11-8 favourite had to overcome a wide draw if he was going to execute the gamble and after being slowly away, it looked very unlikely by the halfway stage. However, after making steady ground on the leaders approaching the home turn, his challenge gathered even more momentum by the time he’d swung into the straight and with a powerful late run down the outside, the son of French Fifteen overwhelmed his main rivals to ultimately win going away with a bit to spare. Pulling off an unlikely victory in the manner he did clearly suggests he’s well above-average and hailing from a trainer who continues to progress his team in all departments – especially with his two-year-olds – this substantially-build juvenile is more than capable of putting up a bold show.

Boundless Ocean - 1pt @ 11/4
French Claim - 0.5pts @ 11/2