Leopardstown preview: Coral.ie Hurdle (14.25)
David Metcalf | January 16, 2016
After Rain has a progressive profile and can take advantage of what looks a handy mark to land the Coral.ie Hurdle at Leopardstown (14.25).
The J R Barry trained gelding has won two of his four starts over the obstacles, and posted a cracking effort last time out on handicap debut when third of 15 to Blue Hell on soft ground at Fairyhouse.
After being held-up at the rear and making a mistake at the fourth, After Rain made good headway on the outside approaching the home straight before keeping on nicely to be beaten 5 1/4 lengths.
The runner-up Diamond King has since come out and won in good style, and the fourth home Keppols Queen has gone on to bolt up by 14 lengths in a Grade 3 contest at this venue.
After Rain is worth a wager
That gives the form a very solid look, and makes a 2lb rise in the weights for After Rain look on the lenient side.
A mark of 125 could seriously underestimate the five-year-old’s ability, and he carries the colours of leading Irish owner JP McManus, who loves nothing more than to lay one out to land a gamble and plunder a big prize like this.
After Rain also remains unexposed and open to plenty more progression and, with Barry Geraghty in the saddle looks, weighted to take all the beating.
De Name Escapes Me, but make sure it doesn’t for you
There are a whole host of dangers in a fiercely competitive affair, and the progressive De Name Escapes Me commands the utmost respect.
The Noel Meade trained gelding won his sole start in a bumper before shaping with plenty of promise on hurdling debut when third of 17 to Sandymount Duke at Punchestown last June.
De Name Escapes Me duly built on that effort to make a winning return to action at Down Royal in November, and has since gone on to register a a facile five length success at Fairyhouse.
The six-year-old, who also carries the famous green and gold hooped colours of JP McManus, travelled strongly throughout in the latter before scoring with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests and an opening handicap of 134 looks workable.
Coral’s top tip: After Rain looks potentially ahead of his mark, and decent value to land a fiercely competitive 2m contest. De Name Esacape Me rates a big danger.