Evergreen Carberry can light up Kilbeggan with fancied trio
PAUL CARBERRY, whose daring turn on Guitar Pete at Aintree last month was an exquisite reminder that he is riding as well as ever at 40 years of age, could be poised to light up an otherwise mundane card at Kilbeggan tonight.
Incredibly, 11 years have passed since the brilliant Co Meath native was crowned champion for a second successive time.
Carberry has lost none of his youthful enthusiasm or professional verve in the meantime and rides in each of the five races that he is eligible for this evening, with Via Del Corso, Prima Vista and Raajih fancied to collect for three different trainers.
The prolific Ancient Sands and recent Cork runner-up Alf Wright are among a number of live rivals to David Kelly's Via Del Corso in the two-mile handicap hurdle. However, the chestnut Kyllachy mare is generally consistent and she contests just her second now off a 4lb lower mark than when sixth at Ballinrobe all of two years ago.
She is fit from a recent turn on the Flat, so she is fancied to have a big say.
Prima Vista, which tackles the beginners' chase, is trained by Carberry's long-time ally Noel Meade. Without a win since landing a Fairyhouse Grade Two novices' hurdle in 2011, he is undoubtedly a disappointing sort. Still, this is a moderate race that could be his for the taking.
The Davy Russell-ridden Limpopo Tom might be the chief threat to the selection, having run respectably to be fourth on its recent Limerick fencing bow.
Gordon Elliott, Carberry's other regular employer, is responsible for Raajih in the Belvedere House, Gardens & Park Chase. This €16,500 handicap is the most valuable race on the programme and is suitably competitive with plenty of the 11 runners holding chances.
Raajih, though, was a course and distance winner last summer that has run encouragingly on both his outings this year.
Third to Usuel Smurfer at Fairyhouse and fourth to Unoccupied at Punchestown when the extended trip stretched his stamina, he could be a potent proposition back on good ground around here.
The day's nap vote goes to Henry de Bromhead's Gone Platinum in the bumper. Third to the smart Western Boy at Thurles in November, Davy Roche's mount ought to take plenty beating now.
At Dundalk, Ballydoyle's frustrating Johann Strauss adds a touch of quality to the opening maiden, while Snow Scene is very interesting in the conditions race.
Ger Lyons' Singspiel filly is wrong at the weights with four of her five rivals, but she made a good impression when scoring here in November. She warrants a speculative venture under the excellent 3lb claimer Colin Keane.
McManus' smart return
Cillian's Return looks a shrewd purchase by JP McManus following his victory at Tipperary yesterday.
The Tony Martin-trained five-year-old, which was snapped up by the powerful owner after beating Cheltenham Champion Bumper fifth Vigil at Fairyhouse on New Year's Day ,was sent off 6/4 joint-favourite for his hurdling bow.
After taking it up from long-time leader Madoun turning for home, he looked to have given Poetic Lord and Patsio a chance when making a mistake at the second-last hurdle.
However, he was soon back on the bridle and cruised home three and a half lengths clear of Poetic Lord.