Farrells Fancy has class to get back on winning trail
THE Terence O'Brien-trained Farrells Fancy is the day's nap selection in the Woodlands House Hotel Hurdle at Limerick.
On an extremely well-contested card at the Munster venue, this eight-runner conditions event represents the smallest field, yet it is one that boasts its share of decent quality contenders.
Sligo Publican, impressive in a Clonmel maiden, is respected, as is Tell Dawstown, which scored over course and distance a month ago.
The returning Maggie Connolly is another that could figure for Willie Mullins, but it is O'Brien's promising sort that gets the nod to return to winning ways.
Having obliged in taking fashion over two miles at Tipperary in October, Farrells Fancy held its own in graded company when upped to three miles on his next two starts.
However, he looked as though he didn't quite get home on either occasion, an impression that is backed up by the decision to revert to the minimum trip. Paddy Mangan, who partners Farrells Fancy, is also fancied to take the maiden hurdle.
The consistent Captain Ocana sets a decent standard in this Roches Feeds-sponsored heat, but Distant Memories is the clear pick if he can transfer his Flat performances to the jumps discipline now that he debuts for Tom Taaffe. Owned by Jim and Fitri Hay, the Falbrav gelding was a solid Group-class campaigner in England.
In the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase, the most valuable prize on offer with a €26,000 slice for the winner, Ted and Katie Walsh should have a big say courtesy of Sea Bass. With 16 runners, many of which are in form, this is an open contest.
Local handler Michael Hourigan saddles the hat-trick-seeking Hans Crescent, but Sea Bass is just preferred.
A dual winner early in 2010, the eight-year-old spent 21 months on the sidelines before making a winning reappearance in a November point-to-point.
He followed that with a straightforward success on his return to the track at Punchestown two weeks ago, and an eight-pound penalty may not stop him here.
In the preceding handicap hurdle, Sorted might bring a frustrating run to an end.
Conor O'Dwyer's representative has shown a few quirks in the past, but this is a poor race, and the switch back to smaller obstacles may be in his favour.