Thursday 17 August 2017

Condon looks winning Option

Damien McElroy

Cork-born first cousins Paul Townend and Davy Condon are the jockeys set to benefit from the injuries sustained over the weekend by reigning champion Ruby Walsh, while the season's leading rider Paul Carberry is now in pole position to reclaim the title.

Saturday's Down Royal casualty Walsh is now resigned to being sidelined for 12 weeks, but Carberry hopes to be back in action much quicker after injuring his lower right leg in a nasty fall from Jetson at Navan on Sunday.

Carberry currently has a four winner lead (43-39) over Andrew McNamara and is eight up on another former title-holder Barry Geraghty - who was yesterday unveiled as Horse Racing Ireland's latest National Hunt ambassador - with Walsh marooned on the 30 mark.

Townend, with 23 successes to his credit so far, may have to wait until the Willie Mullins team gets into full swing to gather real momentum, but Condon should improve his tally from 16 at Naas this afternoon when deputising for Carberry aboard Original Option.

This unexposed Anshan gelding, which won a Limerick bumper in heavy ground, is the nap selection for the Kill Maiden Hurdle after proving his stamina for today's three-mile trip when running the battle-hardened Mount Helicon close in Cork recently.

Noel Meade would welcome a change of luck after Sunday's frustrating experiences at his local track and Original Option should have what it takes to cope here with useful former point-to-pointers Jack Bene and Emmas Island, as well as Doonaghroe.

The other maiden hurdles on a six-race card might prove particularly rewarding for the Edward O'Grady-McNamara partnership, who launch the well-regarded Shot From The Hip and easy Punchestown bumper scorer Staying Article on their jumping careers.

Although unable to reproduce his fine Leopardstown bumper win over Araucaria in either the Cheltenham or Punchestown championships, Shot From The Hip, making his debut now in the JP McManus colours, remains one of the code's more interesting recruits.

The Monsun gelding, which should relish stepping up in distance for the Kingsfurze Maiden Hurdle, has the potential to spearhead the O'Grady novice team this term and could be more forward than last March's facile course bumper victor Cottrelsbooley.

However, stable companion Staying Article possibly has more to prove, both ground-wise and in terms of jumping experience, half-an-hour later when encountering the 115-rated Rivage d'Or plus fellow smart bumper graduates Character Actor and Forty Foot Tom.

Irish Independent

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