HAVING missed all of 2012, the promising Robert Tyner-trained Kandinski tackles the opening maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse this afternoon.
A point-to-point winner at Knockanard, the Bienamado gelding finished second to the useful Thynetocatcher on his bumper debut at Gowran Park in March 2011. On his only subsequent start, the six-year-old filled the same berth in the champion point-to-point bumper behind none other than Simonsig, so his profile his immensely exciting.
Obviously, Kandinski has had some training problems in the meantime. However, Tyner's Kinsale-based outfit has been in tremendous shape over the festive period, and this fellow is fancied to add to his haul under the ever-reliable Philip Enright.
In the event that the selection needs the run, the likes of Mags Mullins' King Of Firth, sixth at Leopardstown last week, and Oliver McKiernan's Another Challenge would be among those most likely to take advantage.
The returning dual bumper winner Kates Benefit, representing Killeagh's Ken Budds, is another to make the journey to Meath from Cork with serious claims in the mares' maiden hurdle. Preferred in that, though, is Jessica Harrington's Annie Oakley.
Robbie Power's mount showed definite potential in her first two bumper outings, before then keeping on well to be third behind Oscars Joy and Caoimhe's Delight over this course and distance a fortnight ago. Given that the runner-up obliged quite readily at Limerick in the meantime, that form reads especially well now.
The day's nap vote goes to Rupert Lamb in the beginners' chase. On its first start for Willie Mullins after more than 18 months off, the Graham Wylie-owned grey ran with enthusiasm on its fencing debut at Navan in November.
He fenced really fluently for Ruby Walsh, and was bang there when the likes of Sword Of Destiny, Darwins Fox and Alderwood challenged between the last two fences. Rupert Lamb tired badly from the back of the last, but Walsh simply nursed him home. With the benefit of the run, he should be a more potent proposition for David Casey.
Of his five rivals, Western Leader and Knockgraffon King have been disappointing. Tom Foley's Golanbrook might be the one to give Mullins' horse most to do.
In the Bobbyjo Bistro Handicap Hurdle, Wise Oscar is likewise having its second start for Dessie Hughes under Bryan Cooper. On his first run here a month ago, he found only the high-class and well-handicapped Bog Warrior too strong, so he should go one better against more modest company now.