Discoteca can lead his rivals a merry dance
LOCAL handler Gordon Elliott can make the short journey east from Trim to Bellewstown pay with Discoteca tomorrow, his sole runner on the mixed card.
The Gigginstown Stud-owned four-year-old is one of eight pencilled in for the Jogforjockeys.ie Hurdle, a two-and-a-half-mile conditions event not dissimilar to the last two races that he landed to complete a hat-trick.
Having shown promise in his three runs in better company during the winter, Discoteca has been placed exquisitely by Elliott this spring.
On his most recent outing at Gowran Park, he overcame a muddling pace that saw him take a keen hold under Davy Russell, eventually denying Casimir Road by three parts of a length, with the pair drawing a whopping 13 lengths clear of the rest.
Tomorrow, going by official ratings, the weights certainly appear to favour the Nayef gelding, so he is fancied to justify the nap vote under Keith Donoghue, who steps in for Limerick-bound Russell.
In the subsequent handicap hurdle, Plato gets the nod to build on an encouraging second at the same Gowran fixture two weeks ago. A field of 16 will line out for what is a wide-open contest, but the former Henry Cecil-trained five-year-old finally looked like replicating some of his Flat form when running into the well-handicapped Wooly Tom at the Kilkenny venue.
While Plato steps up to three miles now, as a winner over 12 furlongs, stamina shouldn't be an issue, so he ought to have a big say under the useful amateur rider Declan Queally, whose father and namesake does the training. Queally is also an eye-catching booking on Kieran Purcell's smart hurdler Burrenbridge Lodge in the amateur riders' Flat race.
At his best, the Grade Two scorer has a live chance, but preference is for Norah Starr. On her latest outing at Limerick in March, Norah Starr picked up a 60-day ban as her trainer/jockey Denis Hogan was found guilty of not letting her run on her merits.
In finishing seventh over a mile and three furlongs that day, the five-year-old mare certainly gave the impression that there might be more in her, and the step up to a mile and six here should be in her favour.
Earlier, Cheval Rouge might foil the penalty-carrying pair Kendleston and Little Arrows in the €13,500 Glebe House Stud Handicap. Summer Knight, Harry Rogers' five-year-old, has plenty going for him under the excellent three-pound claimer Sam James.
At Limerick, Russell, who has six rides with live chances, is highly unlikely to come away empty-handed.
The Paul Nolan-trained Prince Ludovic is possibly the pick of his lot in the conditions chase. A winner of a maiden hurdle and a beginners' chase recently, the bold-jumping son of Luso should be superior to the other four last-time-out winners, with Ted and Ruby Walsh's Devil's Elbow, not beaten far in a Roscommon handicap last time, possibly the main threat.
Walsh, who sets the early pace in the jockeys' championship, might bag a couple of firsts of his own on The Folkes Choice and Sicilian Secret.