Artful Artist can make mark with first hurdle success
Irish punters can gorge on today's action, with 16 races to kick off a weekend crowned by Sunday's Fairyhouse meeting.
The nap vote goes to Artful Artist, which was part of Tony Martin's impressive battalion of Flat steeds this year. In the mount of Davy Russell, Martin has one that seems too well-treated to ignore in Limerick's rated novice hurdle, which is similar to a handicap.
Artful Artist would normally be opposable at this time of year, and he has never even won a race over hurdles, but he's been consistent off marks in the 80s on the Flat and the ground is much quicker than normal for December.
The two-mile handicap hurdle is one of the better races this afternoon. Mick The Boyo scored with ease at Cork and can follow up, though Hurricane Darwin must be feared.
One at a big price on the card to consider is Cant Wait in the second division of the opening maiden hurdle, now that she drops back in distance, while Act In Time is solid in the other.
In the conditionals' handicap hurdle, Bosco Di Alco should win if producing his true ability, while For Sinead ran a grand race at Wexford.
Take her in the amateurs' handicap under Claire Hardwick, with her colleague Lisa O'Neill having Monastery to look forward to in the bumper.
At Dundalk, the best bet looks to be Heat Of The Day in the second division of the EBF-restricted maiden. The crucial aspect here, it seems, is that trainer Michael Halford attaches cheekpieces as she seemed to have a think about it during the concluding furlong of her narrow defeat here last time.
Halford can also strike in the first division with Cloudy Miss, which looks to have found a nice opening. She is certainly bred to get the mile now.
The Irishinjuredjockeys.com Handicap takes an age to solve. Poitin may not have a great deal in hand but few of her rivals seem to have and the extra yardage looks in favour of this consistent sort.
Idyllic Acrylic deserves a winning turn in the opener, while the best-class event of the night is the sprint handicap, notable for the raider in the Phil McEntee-trained Swiss Cross.
The mount of Callum Shepherd is bidding for a four-timer on his 102nd start but Sahreej, visored now, may collar him late. This one was only fourth to Aggression last time but may be able to reverse that form from a low draw.
Almoner and Ellaria could fight it out in the Crown Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Maiden. Whether dropping back in trip will prove ideal for Ellaria remains to be revealed but it was notable how well she travelled on her debut over a mile. Her pedigree offers mixed messages.
Pretty much anything could win the mile handicap, with necessarily tentative preference for Poetic Choice, which gave herself plenty to do last time. A modest finale can go to Spirit Of Paris under Padraig Beggy.