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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Walsh makes the trip to Thurles to ride hurdling debutant Harmony

Ruby Walsh: partners Glens Harmony at Thurles
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Ruby Walsh heads to Thurles on Thursday for just the one ride with Glens Harmony making her hurdling debut in the 2m mares' maiden (3.25).

Owned by her breeder, Fiona McStay, the five-year old is a sister to Glens Melody, who was the chief beneficiary of Annie Power's dramatic last-flight fall, which saved the bookmaking industry a fortune, when landing the Grade 1 OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2015.

A bumper winner who has been placed on her other three starts, Glens Harmony finished second to stablemate Ainsi Va La Vie at the Gowran Park last month.

Her trainer Willie Mullins said: "Her bumper form was quite good and she's in good form.

"She's schooled well and hopefully she'll jump well and give a good account."

Meade's Monksland back for more

On the same card, Monksland, who finished third behind Pallasator in the John Shortt Legends charity race at Punchestown a week ago, returns in the 2m7f He'llberembered Hurdle (4.30), a race named after Paul Fahey's course specialist who won the same event three years in a row from 2013.

A triple Grade 2 winner over hurdles, Monksland has not won a hurdle race since December 2012 and the dual chase winner will be making his first appearance over hurdles since finishing fourth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March.

The ten-year-old's trainer Noel Meade said: "Monksland came out of his Punchestown run well and is in good shape. It's a suitable race for him in terms of distance and the race conditions suit."

Versatile Kapstadt aims for first chase win

Versatile seven-year-old Kapstadt bids to add a first win over fences to his three on the Flat and five over hurdles when he takes on five rivals in the 2m novice handicap chase at Ludlow (3.00).

Ian Williams appreciates how blessed he is to have a clutch of dual purpose horses of the calibre of Imperial Cup and Northumberland Vase winner London Prize and Kapstadt, who this summer won a Flat race on Newmarket's July course and was third to John Constable in Market Rasen's Summer Hurdle – and the trainer is expecting a big step up on last month's Stratford chasing debut.

He said: "He probably didn't enjoy the rain-softened ground that day and he was novicey, so he'll have benefited from the experience.

"He'll enjoy the ground at Ludlow and this is probably his last hurrah before he goes off on his winter break."

Will sofa be an armchair ride

The winner of Carlisle's Visit The All New racing.uk Beginners' Chase (3.20) has a lot to live up to, as the race has gone to some smart performers.

Last year's winner Cloudy Dream went on to be second in Grade 1 novices won by Altior at Cheltenham and Flying Angel at Aintree, before finishing his season off with victory in Ayr's Future Champions' Novices' Chase, while previous recent winners include the smart Duke Of Navan and perennial festival fancy Pendra, who was second in the Kim Muir in March.

The Rose Dobbin-trained Jonniesofa is perhaps the most interesting of the five runners, despite an absence of 587 days after suffering a suspensory injury when down the field in Cheltenham's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

On his previous start he had looked a novice going places when landing the Grade 2 of the same name at Haydock, and while this trip of 2m will be on the sharp side it is sure to take some getting in the conditions.

Dobbin can not wait to see Jonniesofa back in action and said: "He could have come back later on last season but we've given him plenty of time and done as much as we can with him at home. He was always going to be a chaser, and although he would prefer further it's a stiff track and testing ground and he'll make it a proper test. He's in very good order and we are excited."

Dobbin also has a live chance with recent Hexham winner Bigirononhiship – named after a western term – in the staying chase (4.25).

Barber aims for further success

At Southwell, first-season trainer Jack Barber, a grandson of point-to-point legend Richard Barber, launches triple point winner Ballyknock Cloud over hurdles in the 3m novice (3.10).

Barber, who has booked Noel Fehily for the ride, has had only two runners under a full licence and gave a strong hint that he will be a force to reckon with when Smart Boy, the second of them, was a 30-length winner of a handicap hurdle at Plumpton on Monday.


Read exclusive previews from 6pm daily on racingpost.com


 

Her bumper form was quite good and she's in good form
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