Coscorrig can see off aura
Dessie Hughes and Bryan Cooper, flying high in their respective championships less than a month into the new jump season, can continue their excellent run of form with Coscorrig at Cork this evening.
The nine-year-old mare has come into her own on good ground of late, and tackles the featured Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares' Chase now.
Twice a winner in the spring, Coscorrig lost little in defeat when second to Dr Whizz off top-weight at the Punchestown Festival.
She ran off 138 that day, yet the conditions of tonight's €16,250 contest mean that she is at least six pounds well in with each of her seven rivals off a new mark of 140.
That should be enough to see Coscorrig home, though Aura About You is feared. If Paul Nolan's 132-rated charge, which has a preference for testing ground, handles the good going, she won't be too far away.
Later on, Mossey Joe bids to enhance his reputation in the three-mile chase. A five-time winner from seven starts, Mossey Joe is still a raw, unfinished sort, but he overcame some bad mistakes to win in a canter on his fencing debut at Killarney.
He faces a more thorough test here. While it would be no surprise if he were to successfully concede upwards of 10 pounds all round, there is a better option.
The Hughes/Cooper axis again catches the eye with the top-rated Sarteano, but it is the novice Politeo that is expected to win. Paul Nolan's only other runner on the card besides Aura About You, the Gigginstown-owned five-year-old turned in a polished display at Down Royal last time, and has the scope to keep progressing.
Divine Rhapsody, the Land Rover Bumper-winner in 2010 before taking seventh in the Champion Bumper in March, should open his hurdling account in the three-mile maiden, while Ruby Walsh can score on Blindspin in the beginners' chase.
Two miles on this type of ground suited Andrew Lee's son of Intikhab here last month when he was unlucky to tip up three-out, so he should make amends now.
They also race at Down Royal this evening, where Golan Guy is another taken to atone for a recent spill in the Barclay Telecom Landline Handicap Hurdle. Tony Martin's six-year-old was just getting into contention when unseating Walsh at Sligo on Monday, and Ciaran Fennessy's seven-pound claim alleviates some of the 11st 12lb that he must carry here.
On the Flat, Olfa is one of the more interesting contenders in the fillies' maiden. Dermot Weld's daughter of Dubawi showed up well for a long way when fourth in a decent maiden at Limerick in April.