Classy Cyclone can blow his rivals away
It's a long way from Gowran Park in November to Cheltenham in March, but Hidden Cyclone can take the next step on a path that connections hope will lead all the way to Gold Cup glory by securing another win at the Kilkenny venue today.
Pushed out to deny Foildubh – which was placed behind Flemenstar next time – on its seasonal reappearance in the Poplar Chase at Naas, John 'Shark' Hanlon's prolific seven-year-old has been found a decent opportunity to gain further experience en route to a stab at the Lexus Chase over Christmas.
Hidden Cyclone has to concede weight to five rivals in the programme's two-and-a-half-mile conditions race, but it will be a huge anti-climax if such an established talent isn't up to the task on testing going that suits.
Call The Police is the biggest threat to Andrew McNamara's mount. A faller when looking likely to win when last seen at Punchestown in May, Willie Mullins' six-year-old took the following beginners' chase over this same distance on his corresponding outing last term, but doesn't have quite the same potential as the classy selection.
Mullins is napped to take today's edition of the beginners' chase with Aupcharlie. Third in the Cheltenham bumper in 2011, Alan Potts' Daliapour gelding impressed when beating a stack of subsequent winners over this trip to lose its maiden status over flights at Leopardstown in January.
Andrew Lynch's mount will need to be as good as he looked then to deal with the likes of Prima Vista, Carlingford Lough and Spot Fine now, but he strikes as a serious chasing prospect.
The Paul Townend-ridden Diakali could get proceedings off to a flying start for the Closutton yard in the juvenile maiden, though Rogue Angel is taken to account for the stable's Reine Angevine in the four-year-old novices' heat.
Mouse Morris' Gigginstown Stud-owned gelding made a smooth start to its hurdling career at Galway last month, and neither Reine Angevine nor Willie Austin's unbeaten Blacklough are expected to possess quite the same quality.