Fires can ignite for Hughes
DESSIE HUGHES can augment his position at the head of the trainers' championship by securing the featured chase at Ballinrobe this evening.
A line-up of just five has been declared for the P Flannery Plant Hire Group London-sponsored contest, with Hughes relying on Ten Fires.
Below par on his final couple of outings last term, Ten Fires is the only one in today's race that doesn't have the benefit of a recent run, and neither does he fare well at the weights on official figures.
Crucially, though, Roger Loughran's mount thrives in heavy going, so conditions here will suit, something that can't be said with much confidence about any of the opposition.
Recent Tramore winner Traffic Article is undoubtedly the form horse, but Gordon Elliott's representative has never encountered ground as soft as he will here.
Hughes' other runner on the seven-race spread is Chase The Favorite in the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle. Placed in two hurdling starts already, this one should also go close under Bryan Cooper, but is passed over in favour of Russian Regent.
Successful three times in point-to-points, the Cecil Ross-trained seven-year-old was a fine second to Bundle Of Fun here last month, form that reads particularly nicely following that one's subsequent triumph off 109 at Listowel. Given that the pair drew nine lengths clear of the third, Russian Regent is deserving of the nap selection now.
In the opening maiden hurdle over two miles, Ballyhoura is fancied to leave behind a disappointing turn at Killarney.
Racing over a half a mile further then, Colm Murphy's gelding may not have fully got home, so the return to this trip ought to suit.
The beginners' chase also promises to be informative. Sorceror and Arch Rebel are both interesting, but a slight chance is taken on the more experienced Spring The Que.