2.25pm Clonmel Tips & Betting Preview 02/02/2017

A classy six runner field go to post for the third race of the day at Clonmel, and it’s graded action. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: It’ll be interesting to see whether Turcagua will stay this trip as he’d be dangerous if doing so but this can go to MONALEE. If judged on his point to point run he’ll stay this trip well and he’s been improving markedly race by race this season, finishing second behind Death Duty on his latest start. David Mullins retains the ride and if continuing to progress he should be hard to beat, with his other challenger likely to be Battleford, but his jumping may well let him down again.

1 RATHNURE REBEL – Won two of his four runs over hurdles including a great victory at Cork in December in a Grade 3 contest (3m, Soft to Heavy). He did however flop at Limerick on his latest start in a Grade 2 when challenged for the lead which is a concern as he’s likely to be taken on for it once again today. He is however likely to run a good race as he’s clearly talented with conditions to suit and stays this trip well which cannot be confirmed with some of his rivals. If bringing his best form he has to be respected.

2 BATTLEFORD – Very high class in bumpers with seconds in both the Champion Bumper at the Festival and Grade 2 bumper at Aintree in April. he however has been very frustrating to follow over hurdles and has been beaten favourite twice in three runs due to poor jumping, which was the case on his latest start at Thurles in January. Goes into Graded competition for the first time which should be no problem on his bumper form, but does have questions to answer over hurdles for Willie Mullins and will not get away with jumping errors against these rivals. Ruby Walsh deserts him for Turcagua which speaks volumes and he’s likely to struggle unless he jumps with more conviction today.

3 MONALEE – Very progressive and won on hurdling debut at Punchestown, knocking off subsequent Grade 2 winner the Storyteller and Turcagua comfortably and was not disgraced to finish second behind Death Duty at Navan in a Grade 2 in December. Likely to have further improvement in him for Henry De Bromhead and has the services of David Mullins once again which is a big plus. Likely to run well with conditions to suit and he won a point to point at this distance so stamina shouldn’t be an issue, so has to be respected.

4 NEW TO THIS TOWN – Beat the potentially useful Avenir D’Une Vie in a bumper back in January 2016 but hasn’t been as impressive over hurdles and looked outpaced at Leoaprdstown on his latest start when beaten 12 lengths by Battleford in December. On that evidence the step up in trip should suit and has the services of Davy Russell today which is a big plus. Mrs John Harrington’s horses are in form at present with a record of 4-22 at present but he does have quite a bit to find with most of these and he’s likely looking at snatching second at best today.

5 TURCAGUA – Useful in bumpers and has been improving well over timber, winning a maiden in comfortable fashion at Punchestown from the front (2m 4f, Yielding to Soft) and was by no means disgraced on his third hurdling start when second behind Death Duty at Naas in January (2m 4f, Soft). He has few lengths to find with Monalee on previous form and judging by his pedigree this step up in trip is certainly an unknown. Has stamina to prove with Ruby Walsh opting for the seven year old, but if staying he’s likely to be fighting hard and has to be respected for Willie Mullins.

6 WOODS WELL – Second Gigginstown runner for Gordon Elliott who has showed promise on all his runs so far, including when winning with something in hand at Fairyhouse (2m 4f, Soft). Jack Kennedy is on board today which is a positive as he cannot do much wrong at present and Elliott’s horse have returned to form recently. Stamina shouldn’t be a problem judging by his point to point run and has to be respected on this step up in class, and is very much an unknown quantity at present with lots of scope for progress.

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