Racing on the Hill of Crockafotha comes to a conclusion for 2013 with a decent jumps card this evening, but it is Tipperary's corresponding Flat spread that throws up the night's nap selection in the shape of Midfield General.
Jim Bolger's Aussie Rules three-year-old tackles the nine-furlong Meadowview Stables Handicap having progressed well during the summer.
On his latest start at Leopardstown, he was chinned by At Boolavogue, with subsequent winners Polished Rock and The Black Devil just behind in third and fourth. The fifth Thefiddlerofduneen was second in a maiden hurdle at Roscommon on Monday.
That constitutes a serious bit of form, so Midfield General is fancied to defy a three-pound hike, as the excellent Ronan Whelan negates the penalty with his claim.
The subsequent conditions race sees the return of The United States, an exciting Ballydoyle colt that was disappointing on his sole outing this year in the 2,000 Guineas trial in April. Given that he has not been seen since, it may be that something untoward emerged, but to these eyes he just looked on the slow side that day.
Manalapan is a more reliable option. Patrick Prendergast's three-year-old toughed it out to score for a second time on the spin off a mark of 94 at Gowran Park last week.
He will probably have to do better again here over a nine-furlong trip that might be shorter than ideal. Still, Seamie Heffernan's mount is clearly going the right way.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained juveniles Friendship – in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Premier Nursery – and Orchestra are both expected to collect, the latter Galileo colt charged with franking Free Eagle's sensational Leopardstown debut in the maiden. Sea Siren will also have a big say for the elite stable in the Fairy Bridge Stakes, but Frank Dunne's One Spirit appeals more in that.
While this seven-furlong Group Three is an open affair, Niall McCullagh's mount showed real potential to beat Gordon Lord Byron over this trip at Naas last year, before finishing second to Famous Name in the Solonoway Stakes. On her belated reappearance at Leopardstown last week, she ran with plenty encouragement behind Gordon Lord Byron, so she could be hard to beat now if she can build on that.
Bellewstown begins with two un-opposable shorties in Top Madam and Blackmail, while Davy Condon might secure a brace courtesy of Formal Bid and Benemeade. Noel Meade's Benemeade faces stern opposition from Captain Arceus and Giant's Quest in the Mullacurry Cup Handicap Hurdle, but can regain the winning thread back on his favoured quick surface.