Clarach has enough in tank to deny Life Of Reilly
Killarney's August Festival draws to a close with an excellent eight-race spread this evening, the highlight of which is the Batty O'Sullivan Frayden Haulage Ltd Hurdle.
John Kiely, whose 10 jumps winners from 23 runners this term returns an impressive 43pc strike rate, saddles the promising Tipperary scorer Life Of Reilly in the €18,525 handicap. Lightly raced, the JP McManus-owned seven-year-old has the scope to build on his maiden win, though question marks remain as to what he beat that day.
The same cannot be said of Eightybarackstreet. On his handicap debut at Tramore, Tom Cooper's gelding easily accounted for Knockcroghery off 114.
When the runner-up eased home at Roscommon the next day, Eightybarackstreet was paid no mean compliment. Off 10lbs higher here, he should go close.
Akinspirit, a consistent sort that collected on the Flat at Wexford last week, is another to consider, but slight preference is for Clarach. A game mare, Tony Mullins' charge is also up 10lbs for a comfortable triumph at Galway, and her form is quite solid.
Benefit Of Porter, second that day, turned the tables on the selection on the Flat off more favourable weights at Tramore, and subsequently got to within a couple of lengths of The Real Article at Wexford. Bearing in mind, then, that Clarach won her maiden at the Co Kerry venue in May having been chinned on the line in a bumper on her only previous start there, she has plenty going for her under Danny Mullins now.
Kiely also has a fine opportunity to maintain his Flat ratio, currently one from five, with Blossom Gate in the KWD Recycling Qualified Riders' Race, with Galileo's Choice the likely favourite from seven runners.
Dermot Weld's representative was just run out of it in a similar contest at Tipperary in April, before then edging home in a Galway maiden hurdle. He could be a formidable opponent in this, but Blossom Gate can take advantage of a 15lb pull at the weights.
In two bumpers at Cork and Galway, the four-year-old has obliged by a combined 16 lengths, so it will be fascinating to see how she fares in this company.
Also fancied at the picturesque track is Im Suir in the Grand Hotel Handicap Hurdle. Paul Townend's mount did plenty right when third on its first outing for Willie Mullins at Kilbeggan recently, so it would be no surprise to see him make light of top-weight here.
The day's nap is Jamsie Hall in the Sean Graham Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle at Down Royal. A massively improved operator since joining Clare MacMahon's Co Meath yard, Davy Condon's partner is 26lbs better treated over flights than when he did the business over fences at Tramore recently. That is a significant discrepancy.