Racing: For The Notebook Horses to go on to better things

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The Independent Online
TARRY FLYNN is due to run this weekend, either in Ireland or England. Wherever it is, he can wear Lincoln green.

The mud-loving four-year-old is entered for Saturday's Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster and Sunday's Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh, which he won last year. The track most resembling a turnip field will get the vote. With forecast showers failing to arrive at Doncaster yesterday, the Curragh - where the ground is already soft - is the favourite.

Dermot Weld's horse is well named. Parts of Tarry Flynn, Patrick Kavanagh's story set on a farm in Monaghan, are a hymn to mud:

``As I crossed McArdle's field I wondered / As I looked down into the drain / If ever a summer day should find me shovelling up eels again''

Weld said yesterday from his Curragh stable that a decision will be made today. ``At the moment, it's 60-40 in favour of him running here. His sire is Kenmare, so he needs soft going to show his best. If it came up soft at Doncaster, he'd be the horse to be on.''

Weld's hint should not go unheeded. This top trainer doesn't usually offer tips, and his stable saddled the last Irish-trained Doncaster Lincoln winner - Saving Mercy in 1984. Even if he misses Yorkshire and runs at the Curragh instead, Tarry Flynn looks a sound bet there.

Kavanagh's novel as well as his poetry are clearly long-term favourites in the Weld family. The horse was named by his owner, the trainer's mother. ``My late father knew Kavanagh very well,'' Dermot said. ``I also saw Kavanagh once, at Punchestown races.''

Leading bookmakers have been offering ``non-runner - no bet'' terms on the Doncaster race. So if Tarry Flynn stays at home, punters would get their money back. And if you haven't yet read the book, there would be no better way to spend it.