Grounds for optimism as Decoy Daddy takes aim for trainer Mullins
The pretty decent ground for the early part of Killarney's August Festival is under threat, with heavy showers forecast in Munster ahead of this evening's third session in the Kingdom, where the jumpers have the stage to themselves.
Established form on a lively surface could be in danger tonight -- depending on the amount of rain that arrives -- so a watching brief on the weather is advised before the featured Owens McCarthy Handicap Chase.
Last month's course winner Schelm, Kilbeggan scorers Hairy Molly and Streets Of Gold, plus Decoy Daddy -- which obliged on the Flat at Tramore last Saturday -- are basically summer performers.
Should they get their preferred going, this quartet could dominate the market and, on the basis of stamina requirements, locally owned former Cheltenham bumper hero Hairy Molly and the splendidly versatile Decoy Daddy are preferred to Schelm and Streets Of Gold.
Decoy Daddy's trainer Tony Mullins brings the much-improved Impersonator to the Kerry venue in search of a fourth success on the bounce in the Lakehotel.com Handicap Hurdle, with both a step up in distance and his latest 9lb penalty to overcome.
However, the 10-year-old might find another Galway winner, Novel Investment, taking his measure at a difference of a stone -- even if Tom Doyle's regular mount was unable to cope with Alpine Eagle's change of gear in the closing stages at Sligo a fortnight ago.
The preceding Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle is an interesting race with Bacher Boy, which had his hat-trick ambitions foiled in a similar Galway affair, attempting to give weight to a trio of equally promising rivals in Casey Top, Moon Dice and Queiros Bleu.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Bacher Boy and, to a lesser extent, Paul Flynn's Sligo runner-up Moon Dice may be more ground-dependent than Leonard Whitmore's 123-rated Casey Top, which was a smooth scorer in handicap company over this route with ease underfoot last month.
Former champion Barry Geraghty, who switches to Casey Top from Bacher Boy on this occasion, could also be successful in a modest SouthWestern Power Services Beginners Chase if Vinnie Keane's Coast reproduces his splendid comeback effort at Tipperary, when third to Glenstal Abbey and Wise Old Owl.
Wise Old Owl is chosen to get off the mark for John Kiely's stable in the Killarney Oaks Hotel Beginners Chase.