Cork double on the cards for Townend
Willie Mullins, who should continue his winning streak in Cork this afternoon with yet another double, is awaiting updates from the veterinary surgeons to which his weekend casualties Secant Star and Enterprise Park were dispatched.
Both horses suffered pelvic injuries on their seasonal returns, Secant Star being pulled up on Friday at Punchestown in the hurdle race won by Jumbo Rio and Enterprise Park coming down at the second fence behind Bob Lingo in a Fairyhouse beginners chase.
"They have survived and are with the vets," remarked Mullins, whose Cork-born protege Paul Townend has had mixed fortunes aboard the yard's runners in the past week or so but should score today at the Mallow venue on Johnny McGeeney and Morning Surpreme.
Secant Star -- in the Eamon Duignan colours which were carried to an easy Listed success over fences at Tramore on Saturday by revitalised stable companion Barker -- was Mullins' sole entry in the McCarthy Insurance Group Hurdle, which should go now to the 155-rated Sublimity.
The Hennessy family's former Cheltenham hero with Andrew Lynch up meets another proven Cotswolds performer Newmill here, with their combined ages of 24 years suggesting On The Way Out, which ran Jumbo Rio very close at Punchestown, appears a potent threat.
John Kiely's 141-rated charge seemed to appreciate a reasonable surface at Punchestown when coming late on the scene, but that was over two and a half miles and the drop back to the minimum trip this time should play more to Sublimity's strengths.
The Stallion Farms Beginners Chase confined to mares -- which rounds off the Jackpot -- has attracted the Mullins pair Morning Supreme, still in front at Thurles when paying the price for taking liberties three out and handing the prize to The Hurl, and year-younger Killultagh Queen.
A talented daughter of Supreme Leader, which relishes making the running, Morning Supreme can secure compensation for that Thurles lapse in concentration by accounting for both Killultagh Queen and the busier Boragh Princess, which most recently chased home Dorabelle in a Sedgefield hurdle.
The earlier McCarthy Insurance Group Maiden Hurdle spoils may be captured also by the Mullins-Townend partnership courtesy of previous course bumper victor Johnny McGeeney, which ran quite freely when second to Tornedo Shay at Gowran Park.
That was still a pretty decent effort as Thomond O'Mara's Tornedo Shay is no slouch and the jumping experience gained that day could make all the difference against Henry de Bromhead's recent bumper winner here Byerley Bear.
The Student Raceday March 31st Maiden Hurdle initiates a Jackpot pool benefiting from yesterday's Naas rollover of €4,443 and the two to concentrate on here look to be jumping newcomers Duc De Savoie for the in-form Dermot Weld team and Pat Flynn's Prince Chaparral.
The latter handled testing conditions admirably when finishing a gallant runner-up to What A Charm in the November Handicap at Leopardstown off a mark of 90 and just might have the call over the American-bred grey Duc De Savoie.