Apache can enhance Walsh's record by striking gold at Cork
Local Doneraile-based handler John Joe Walsh and his Apache Gold can add to their already impressive records at Cork this evening.
Over jumps, Walsh is at his most prolific up the road at Limerick, but the Mallow venue sees his runners to best effect on the Flat. In the past five years, he has saddled five winners there from 39 runners for a 13pc strike rate, and Apache Gold has been responsible for three of those wins for a 50pc ratio of his own since October 2013.
With two other runner-up finishes there, the seven-year-old clearly saves his very best form for the riverside track. He faces no easy task in tonight's six-furlong handicap, but he is handicapped to have a big say off a pound lower rating than the 61 that he won off here last October.
Well-held on last month's seasonal reappearance at the track, Apache Gold subsequently ran much better at Limerick, only tiring late on to be beaten six lengths after leading until the furlong pole.
The handicapper has dropped him two pounds for that, so he ought to take a bit of stopping under Colin Keane if he improves a little bit more, with the prospect of slow ground not a concern for him.
Walsh fires three darts at the later handicap over seven furlongs, but Adrian Keatley's Lady Ranger is the one to keep on side in that.
Placed here over five off the same mark of 53 in October, the Bushranger four-year-old was just collared by Mr Bounty on her Navan return over six, before proving one-paced when beaten four lengths at Naas.
Lady Ranger needs to do better now under Fran Berry, but she has the scope to do so on her first stab at this trip.
In the five-furlong conditions race, Ado McGuinness' Bubbly Bellini is trusted to confirm Sunday's Navan superiority over Russian Soul off worse terms under Declan McDonogh, while the nap vote goes to Dermot Weld's Variable in the finale.
Just denied when done for toe and experience by Hot Sauce on her Gowran Park debut over most of 10 furlongs, the Sea The Stars filly steps up to 12 here. If she makes average progress, she really ought to take some beating.