Paparrazi Kid can snap up honours for Mullins
Willie Mullins' The Paparrazi Kid is napped to foil a clean sweep for Munster-based handlers at this afternoon's fixture in Limerick.
An indication of the locals' strength in depth on the card can be seen in the line-up for the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle that the selection tackles, with 10 of the 14 runners trained in the home province.
Of those from outside the boundary, there is possibly none more interesting than Paul Fahey's Golden Plan, which recently added a Tramore bumper to its Tattersalls point-to-point victory three weeks earlier.
However, The Paparrazi Kid has the most solid form, though he has been frustrating, having finished second in a bumper and three maiden hurdles since scoring in fine style on his Navan debut just over a year ago.
At Leopardstown last time, he didn't do much wrong when going down to Anonis, and the subsequent triumphs of Blissful Moment (fifth) and King Of Firth (sixth) read well for Ruby Walsh's mount now.
Of Mullins' other two runners, Immediate Response is possibly the most interesting on its fencing bow in the two-mile-one-furlong beginners' chase under the trainer's son Patrick.
Three times a winner in testing ground last term, including once here off a mark of 116, the 10-year-old has obvious claims on his seasonal reappearance.
Preference, though, is for another of that vintage, John Joe Walsh's Stony Grey Soil.
A bumper winner more than four years ago at today's venue – which will undergo an 8.0 inspection due to the threat of frost – Stony Grey Soil's only hurdling victory came off a mark of just 95, but he has the crucial benefit of chasing experience.
He has improved for each of his three previous tries, with today's rider Bryan Cooper getting a fine tune out of him when chinned by Pineau De Re at Thurles recently.
If he can build on that again, he could take a bit of stopping for his Doneraile handler.
In the shorter of the two handicap hurdles on the card, consistent top-weight Fair Dilemma appeals for Jimmy Mangan and Harley Dunne, with The Shoe Doctor fancied for Charlie Swan in the other.
Beaten less than two lengths by Miss Xian at Fairyhouse, JP McManus' David Casey-ridden runner has generally been running well of late.