The traditional Tramore New Years Eve fixture helps bring the curtain down on another great year for Irish racing. Here are my selections for the final meeting at one of the country’s most unique courses, writes Martin Pennington
An interesting Mares Maiden Hurdle opens the card and it sees the rules debut of the Michael Winters trained Mollydod who returned from in excess of a three year absence to score in a point at Ballydarragh earlier this month. The underfoot conditions will hold no problems for her and with stamina likely to be at a premium she is taken to score at the expense of the frustrating Chasing Shadows.
The Willie Mullins trained Moveable Asset was successful in a Maiden Hurdle on his first outing over hurdles at this track in August. Although he has a bit to find with the Tony Martin trained Ted Veale on official ratings he has shown a liking for conditions and the track already and that course experience could prove vital in this.
Leading lady amateur rider Liz Lalor saddles her first runner under rules as a trainer when she saddles the nine year old mare Moyas Charm, formerly trained by her father in this six runner Maiden Hurdle. Moyas Charm is a versatile and consistent mare having already made the frame in four of her seven starts in Maiden Hurdles including under her trainer and with the promising Mark Enright again taking the ride, as he did at Clonmel when the partnership were runner-up to Glens Melody she is taken to go one better in this.
Ballyquin Queen is set to have her first start on this side of the Irish Sea here having previously been with Philip Hobbs and James Motherway’s charge is the most intriguing runner in this having performed well in a couple of hot bumpers and Novice Hurdles back in 2011 prior to going off the boil once tackling handicaps. She races off just 95 here and and though her best efforts in bumpers came on a sound surface she looks worth giving another chance to on this ground.
Feabhra showed some useful form last season in Maiden Hurdles – most notably when beaten less than ten lengths by the useful pair of Bridgets Pet and Marasonnien at Naas. She disappointed in each of her next two starts including on handicap debut at Cork in April when pulled up but she returns to rules racing today after two starts between the flags this autumn with the most recent outing resulting in a twenty length success of two subsequent winners at Dromahane last month. Similar front runner tactics here should see her difficult to peg back.
Eoin Doyle has won this race with Come To The Party in each of the past two seasons and the trainer is represented by former Hunter Chase winner Count Salazar. Count Salazar has yet to convince in handicaps with his two starts in Handicap Chases each resulting in him failing to complete, firstly when behind when falling over 3m 1f at Punchestown back in October and most recently on St Stephen’s Day when he unseated relatively early on behind Ponmeword at Limerick. Eoin Doyle has an exceptional record at the track and that is taken to be further enhanced by this fellow.
Lisa O’Neill is a promising amateur and she teams up with trainer Liz Doyle here with the pair already having been successful together in the bumper at the meeting here back in October. They link up once again with the experienced Glen Beg who ran well in a Listed Mares Bumper at Navan on her penultimate start, she disappointed earlier in the week but providing she can put that behind her she looks likely to go close for last year’s winning trainer.