Fists Of Fury to knock out the competition
WITH Davy Russell in such fine form, it is significant that he has opted to partner Fists Of Fury rather than Last Instalment at Galway tomorrow.
The two Gigginstown Stud-owned horses tackle a competitive-looking WB Gavin & Co EBF Beginners' Chase.
Having proved himself a horse of some potential last term courtesy of a bumper and two hurdling triumphs, the Philip Fenton-trained Last Instalment's switch to fences had been eagerly anticipated.
However, Russell has opted for Charles Byrnes' race-fit Fists Of Fury instead. A maiden hurdle winner a year ago, this one has been less prolific, but a number of placed efforts in decent races did identify him as one that could progress.
On his fencing bow at Punchestown, Fists Of Fury ran well for a long way before tiring into fourth behind On The Way Out. That was a decent effort in a decent race, so it's reasonable to assume that Russell's judgement will be vindicated now.
The jockeys' championship leader is also fancied to take the opening Corrib Food Products Maiden Hurdle with Leave Him Alone. As with the following mares' equivalent, there is no great strength in depth to this 11-runner heat, and Leave Him Alone stands out as the horse to beat.
Successful in a good point-to-point at Kildorrery in February, Kevin O'Sullivan's five-year-old confirmed his potential by securing a Cork bumper with plenty to spare in April. If he reproduces that level of performance now, he should win.
In the Mocha Beans-sponsored mares' race, Our Girl Lucy is fancied for Tom and Bryan Cooper, while Forjoetheplumber gets the nod in the Dara Cassidy Memorial Chase for another father and son partnership, Jimmy and Paddy Mangan.
Indifference Curve has a squeak here, having finished second at Roscommon last month, but Forjoetheplumber is less exposed, and has been given a chance by the handicapper.
Just before that, Viaduct Joey appeals in the John Mulholland Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle. A winner at Listowel, Terence O'Brien's representative shaped with promise when fourth on its handicap bow at Tipperary three weeks ago.