Harpsy Cord can sound winning note for Dreaper
AFTER a deeply impressive debut for Gordon Elliott at Galway recently, today we will discover if the previously frustrating Shrapnel can deliver back-to-back performances when he tackles the conditions hurdle at Fairyhouse.
By slamming the subsequent runaway Naas winner Rory O'Moore to record a first hurdling triumph in 10 tries, the Gigginstown Stud-owned six-year-old shaped like a reformed character.
It was a performance that should probably be taken at face value, but that's not to say he won't need to improve again to account for this field.
In particular, Harpsy Cord stands out as a potentially formidable opponent now that he reverts to flights for Jim Dreaper.
A former point-to-point scorer that has won a maiden hurdle and a beginners' chase in the sort of testing going that he will encounter here, the Accordion six-year-old turned in a cracking effort to finish second off a mark of 127 on his reappearance in a handicap chase at Punchestown.
Under top weight, that was a display of some promise, so it is interesting that Dreaper comes here now.
The suspicion is that he is keen to protect Harpsy Cord's mark for a tilt at a valuable handicap chase and this is a decent opportunity to pick up another hurdling win along the way.
All told, Andrew Lynch's mount appeals as nap material.
In the three-year-old hurdle, Noel Meade's Casual Creeper, a much-improved second to Our Conor at Navan 10 days ago, can break its duck for Davy Condon, while Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh might continue their rich vein of form courtesy of Champagne Agent and Twigline.
Champagne Agent is not one to put too much faith in, but the two-mile maiden hurdle that he contests is a poor race.
Twigline is a different proposition, making its bow for the champion trainer in the half-mile longer edition, two and a half years after landing a French bumper.
A grey mare by Martaline – which is responsible for the likes of Dynaste, Toubab, Domtaline and stablemate Pique Sous – she won't need to be the next Quevega to oblige in a nine-runner affair that lacks depth.
On ratings Tony Martin's often-placed King Of The Refs is probably the one to beat, but Bryan Cooper's mount is far from reliable.