Mangan to prove poetry in motion aboard Sonnet
Cloughjordan handler Willie Austin's booking of the excellent 7lb claimer Jane Mangan makes Blazing Sonnet nap material at Clonmel this afternoon.
Austin's homebred seven-year-old mare has been brilliantly consistent in four starts this term, finishing second twice and third twice.
Her two most recent outings have come in decent contests at Leopardstown, latterly keeping on at one pace off a career-high mark of 100 when third to the fast finishing Summer Star 12 days ago.
On the balance of evidence available, that makes Blazing Sonnet the pick of the 12 runners in today's two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle, especially when you factor in just how much value rider Mangan (below) is for her generous allowance.
Of the opposition, Willie Mullins' Un Beau Roman will be popular but has looked ordinary this term.
Tabac Brun and Noble Pageant are more potent threats, particularly the unpredictable Noble Pageant, which has very solid form at its best.
Mullins relies on Immediate Response, so taking on its recent fencing bow at Limerick, in the Powerstown Chase.
Mouse Morris' Miradane, conqueror of subsequent Grade One winner Benefficient when last seen at Listowel in September, is another intriguing contender in this five-runner affair.
However, preference is for the Dessie Hughes-trained Canaly.
Having beaten Terminal and Alderwood to get off the mark over fences at Fairyhouse in December, Bryan Cooper's mount boasts some proper form, and he made no mistake in following up off a mark of 126 over flights next time.
When last seen a month ago, Canaly ran well for a long way off 135 in the Leopardstown Chase, so the chances are he'll take plenty stopping if he runs to a mark of around 130 now.
In the preceding conditions hurdle, the champion trainer's Ruby Walsh-ridden Unika La Reconce is marginally favoured over Anonis and Rye Martini.
This is a cracking little contest, with the Barry Connell-owned Anonis having a first start since falling three-out behind Pont Alexandre in January, and Gigginstown Stud's Rye Martini out to confirm the promise of its ready Tipperary triumph on its debut back in October.
Both, though, may struggle to concede weight to Mullins' mare, which slammed the recent winner Speckled Wood by 12 lengths when sluicing up at Thurles.
Mullins introduces the Gigginstown Flat recruit Security Breach in the opener, but Harry Kelly's useful bumper horse Hilltop Tommy gets the nod under Davy Condon in that.