Hogan can work his magic with The Welsh Wizard at Kilbeggan
The Welsh Wizard is trusted with the nap vote to continue Denis Hogan's fine run of recent form in the opening maiden hurdle at Kilbeggan tonight.
A field of 14 is set to go to post for this near two-and-a-half mile contest, but there is no great depth to the race. While Bright Prospect, Change of Address, Sparkalark and Icantsay have shown bits of form, the selection looks a more robust option.
A 75-rated Flat horse, The Welsh Wizard progressed from a modest hurdling bow to be second to the useful Long Dog at Sligo. At Galway 10 days ago, he ran similarly well when third behind Thomas Hobson, keeping on at one pace over two miles.
This evening's longer journey should play to his strengths, so he has lots going for him, with his shrewd handler also pencilled in to steer.
Hogan has other chances on the card as well. Emmy Lou looks sure to be a leading player for him under the excellent 7lb claimer Jack Kennedy in the Joe Cooney Memorial Handicap Hurdle, while he will again take the reins himself aboard Troubled Soul in the two-mile maiden hurdle. This is another poor race.
Tom Mullins' Hes Our Robin might have a chance based on his Wexford second to Fearachain on his penultimate outing, but he is fairly hit-and-miss. Troubled Soul is hardly rock-solid, either.
Nonetheless, the Definite Article mare posted what was probably a career-best effort to be second to Kris Kindle at Killarney last month. If she reproduces that level now, she could take a bit of stopping.
In the novices' hurdle, the old firm of Jessica Harrington and Barry Geraghty are likely to go close with Tri Na Ceile.
JP McManus's Galileo mare drew clear of Tigroney here three weeks ago, which is about as good a piece of form as is available in the six-runner contest.
Geraghty has also got the nod for Guitar Pete in the beginners' chase. Sandra Hughes's five-year-old won two Grade Ones as a juvenile hurdler, and he did enough when second to Empresario on his Galway fencing bow to suggest that a race of this nature would be still within his compass.