Thursday 23 March 2017

Hellyhunter and Clear Gold can ensure Walsh enjoys home comfort

Colm Murphy's Kimberlite King can break his duck over fences at Fairyhouse
Colm Murphy's Kimberlite King can break his duck over fences at Fairyhouse

Damien McElroy

Ruby Walsh resumes on the home front at Fairyhouse today following yesterday's successful visit to Taunton and should extend his lead over Davy Russell in their latest title-race duel.

Kildare's perennial champion is on the 87-winner mark for the campaign here, and holds a comfortable lead of 12 over Russell. He looks to have a better book of rides today.

Although the Davy Fitzgerald-trained Hellyhunter is obliged to concede weight all round, this bumper victor should take some beating in Walsh's hands in the opening Course Signage Maiden Hurdle. The six-year-old has picked up a fair amount of experience over timber and that could make the difference as Our Gar, with Russell aboard, switches to jumping after a couple of placed bumper outings.

While Quiet Word can also make his presence felt here, his in-form trainer Dessie Hughes may be better rewarded when Dun Masc tackles bumper victors Falcon Island and Silver Friend later.

Third to Mr Cracker and Ad Idem in better company at Navan four weeks ago, Dun Masc has his sights lowered here and drops back in trip as well for the Easter Festival Maiden Hurdle. Falcon Island is the main threat.

The beginners chase has cut up badly, with the notable absence of Mikael D'Haguenet, leaving just eight to oppose presumed hotpot Kimberlite King. This often-placed gelding has a gilt-edged opportunity to make amends for his Naas defeat to Across The Bay earlier this month by edging out Inverlochy Lad and Askmeroe.

Sean Aherne's Springmount may defy a Thurles penalty in the Bobbyjo Bistro Handicap Chase, and then Punchestown runner-up Clear Gold should complete Walsh's double as the senior member of the 10 left in the handicap chase over two miles.

The Berry family's Hot Or What bids to overcome her 6lb penalty for Thursday's Clonmel victory in a competitive final leg of the Jackpot, before debutant Bishopsfurze runs for bumper specialists Willie and Patrick Mullins.

Irish Independent

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