With tomorrow’s cards at Ascot and Haydock both victims of the cold snap, and Lingfield’s Sunday meeting under threat, it makes sense to look ahead with some ante-post bets, for once on both sides of the Irish Sea.
It’s not often that I gamble on races in Ireland but I like the look of JETARA at double figure odds in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival on 3 February. This race at Leopardstown is highly likely to be dominated by geldings from the Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott yards but it is an improving six-year-old mare trained by Jessica Harrington who could surprise her rivals.
Jetara showed plenty of promise early last season but was then disappointing at both the Cheltenham Festival and Fairyhouse in the spring. However, she stepped up in trip this season, winning her last three starts. She is now officially rated at 142 following her demolition of a decent field in the Grade 3 BeattheBank.ie Irish EBF Mares Hurdle at Leopardstown last month.
Her three wins have come on very soft ground but it was interesting that, after her last race, Harrington said she expected her mare to improve further when she ran on better ground. The trainer also said she intended to target this 3 February contest in which Jetara, who is a slick jumper, will get a 7lbs mares’ allowances from all her rivals. Back her each way at 10-1 with Paddy Power or Betfair, both paying three places. SkyBet is the only other bookmaker currently offering odds for this race but is two points shorter.
Looking ahead to the Cheltenham Festival, JETARA is eligible to run in the Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on 14 March but that is run over a distance of just over two miles and it seems she needs an extra half mile to be at her best.