Inxile can rain on opponents' parade
The Dandy Nicholls-trained Inxile will bid to add to his facile success at Naas last week when he tackles the €26,000 Listed race on the opening day of Cork's three-day Easter programme this afternoon.
Fran Berry, who did the steering last Saturday, switches to Luisant this time, with Nicholls' son Adrian partnering Inxile. Snaefell, so disappointing behind Inxile at Naas, also reappears under Johnny Murtagh, though Luisant may pose the biggest threat to the cross-channel raider.
James Nash's charge has an excellent record over today's six furlongs, winning four times over the trip.
With three further wins over seven furlongs, he would have a serious chance of upsetting Inxile's prospects should the ground ride slow.
As it is, though, Inxile is taken to oblige if the forecast good going prevails. Nicholls' six-year-old is more of a five-furlong specialist, winning five times over that trip and just once over today's. Nonetheless, he is at the peak of his powers right now, so he should collect once the rain stays away.
In the 10-furlong handicap that follows, Elusive Award is the nap selection. Granted, the 16-runner heat is quite an open-looking contest, but Andrew Oliver's charge has run as though he would benefit from this step up in trip.
In two races over seven furlongs this term, the Elusive Quality gelding has stayed on late to be third and fourth, efforts that have conveniently seen him drop a pound in the weights. He should take advantage of that over a more suitable distance now.
The second race of the day is a six-furlong handicap that features plenty of quality. John Oxx's dual winner Natalisa could figure on her reappearance, while The Reaper, Colour Of Love, Social Forum and Timeless Call also bring winning form to the table.
However, the locally trained Gossamer Seed is taken to trump them all.
John Murphy's filly followed a pleasing debut second by scoring at the Mallow venue in October, but she was ultimately outclassed at Leopardstown in the Guineas Trial last time. With Sam James taking five pounds off, her first-time handicap mark of 82 is manageable.
Oxx and Johnny Murtagh team up with the well-bred debutant Kilbirnie in the concluding maiden. The market will tell a lot about this one's chance, but Dermot Weld's Celebrity Sevi gets the nod, having kept on well to be fourth at The Curragh in the autumn.
On tomorrow's card at the Munster venue, Kalann is a strong fancy in the opening maiden hurdle.
Sabrina Harty's Flat winner has performed admirably in three graded events up to now, so this drop to more modest company should see him collect.
Apalachicola, just a couple of lengths behind subsequent winner Shifa when third at Limerick last time, should also get off the mark in the mares' maiden, while Roberto Goldback will be hard to beat in the featured Imperial Call Chase.
Just five go to post for the Listed three-miler, and Let Yourself Go is a live danger to Roberto Goldback's prospects.
However, the top-weight has to give three pounds to Jessica Harrington's runner, which leaves him 10lbs wrong on official figures.