Ashforth's Angles: Is there a silver lining to Ruairis Cloud?


Wincanton: Ardkilly Witness is in action at the track on Thursday

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By David Ashforth 6:01PM 18 JAN 2017 

CAN I give up on Ruairis Cloud yet? Life’s full of disappointments and I’ve got a horrible feeling that Ruairis Cloud might be another one.

Where did it all go wrong?, as the waiter bringing champagne to George Best’s hotel room famously asked when seeing the footballer’s bed covered with banknotes and Miss World.

Having won twice and finished runner-up twice from five point-to-point appearances Ruairis Cloud was very disappointing when second favourite for a hunter chase at Wexford in November.

A month later he was again disappointing at Limerick. The awful truth may be that the races he did well in weren’t very good ones. There wasn’t a rush to buy the horses in front of or behind him.

At Thurles (4.00) Robert Tyner’s eight-year-old is reunited with Derek O’Connor, his partner in point-to-points. He faces only four opponents. Unfortunately, they are all a lot better than he is and barring accidents Ruairis Cloud’s reward is likely to be €150 for finishing last.

Would that it were different.

Like a lot of punters, I’m reluctant to abandon a horse I’ve been keeping an eye on. Not for any noble reason, such as loyalty or a sense of decency but because of the pain experienced if the horse suddenly wins at 25-1.

No, we’d rather keep losing money chasing something down the handicap and down the drain just in case. Barmy. Even so, I’ll still keep an eye on Ruairis Cloud. Hope, unfortunately, lasts almost for ever.

Just as someone occasionally states that they regret to announce the death of someone or other, so I regret to announce that hope of Ardkilly Witness (1.40 Wincanton) ever winning again has been abandoned.

It’s sad because he was a bonny performer I used to enjoy watching and a four time winner, once rated 139, for Richard Newland.

Newland is a trainer from whom I would not be keen to buy a horse that he is content to part with. That is because Newland is good at improving horses, good at placing them and probably good at judging the right time to sell them.

It wouldn’t be easy to do better with a horse than he has. Ardkilly Witness, now 11, has shown only glimmers of form since being sold for £23,000 and refused on his last appearance, at Wincanton.

Let’s hope he proves me wrong and, switched back to hurdles and down to a mark of 120, Ardkilly Witness revives.

If all that makes you want to be cheered up, consider the maiden hurdle at Ludlow (1.20) and Oliver Greenall’s Badbad Leroy Brown.

He won’t win today but that doesn’t matter because, as Jim Croce’s song put it:”All the downtown ladies call him Treetop Lover, All the men just call him sir.

“And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown, The baddest man in the whole damned town.

“Badder than old King Kong. And meaner than a junkyard dog.”

The last line doesn’t seem to rhyme but never mind. It’s how fast the dog runs that counts.

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