Much anticipation for Amateur National

Sat 13th Jan 2018, 10:01

photoCanaly - can he follow up on last year's win?
©Healy Racing Photos
The Connolly's RED MILLS Amateur National (Q.R.) Handicap Chase is one of the most interesting heats on Punchestown's Saturday programme.

Riders usually confined to the point-to-point and bumper sphere get the chance to shine at the home of Irish National Hunt racing.

All the big names, including the current amateur and point-to-point champions Jamie Codd and Barry O'Neill, as well as the record-breaking Derek O'Connor, are in the hunt for this handsome prize.

Despite his top-weight burden, Thebarrowman is very much respected as he drops back from Grade One company under O'Connor.

O'Neill's ride He Rock's was second in this last year, and he should be on the premises again after decent efforts in competitive handicaps this season.

Codd will be on Bilko, who was put in his place by the gambled-on and well-handicapped Spider Web at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting.

Perhaps there isn't anything with as much up their sleeve in this field, so Bilko definitely needs considering for Gigginstown House Stud and Gordon Elliott.

Handicap chase first-timer Glencairn View is a big player for the Tony Mullins outfit.

Mullins has booked a talented youngster in Liam Quinlan for the spin on the Flemensfirth gelding and the hope would be that he can benefit for the step up to this three-mile-one-furlong trip.

Owned and bred by the McCarthys at the famed Beeches Stud in Lismore, County Waterford, Glencairn View has yet to score on the racecourse proper but he did show stamina is his strong suit when victorious in a point-to-point.

Canaly took the honours here 12 months ago, and the veteran is back with a lower rating and a light weight in his favour.

Elsewhere, Robert Tyner has prospects of a double with his in-form mares Simple Steps (12.25) and A Hardy Nailer (3.20).

The latter represents JP McManus, and the leading owner also provides Padraig Roche with his first runner as a trainer when Steer Clear goes in the Maiden Hurdle.

Roche, of course, recently took over the running of Curragh View House on the retirement of his father Christy.

O'Brien brothers win Dundalk's finale

Palace Guard made a winning handicap debut at Dundalk this evening as the four year old gelding landed the concluding E McGahon, McGuinness & Co. Handicap for trainer Joseph O'Brien and his brother Donnacha O'Brien.