Potts can have an Absolutlyfantastic day at Gowran
Hard as it may be to believe at the end of September, Gowran Park's two-day fixture gets under way this afternoon on ground that has had to be watered to provide safe jumping conditions.
While there is a threat of rain in the area today, the official going at declaration time was good, good to firm in places. That is expected to suit a few of the runners that will sport the colours of Alan and Ann Potts, with the Irish string of the owners of the reigning champion chaser Sizing Europe seemingly growing all the time.
In the opening maiden hurdle, Henry de Bromhead's Absolutlyfantastic, a €200,000 purchase at Tattersalls last year, is taken to confirm the impression that he made when scoring on his debut for the Potts pairing at Killarney in July.
Not unfancied in a bumper on that occasion, the Alhaarth four-year-old beat subsequent winners Dr Tommy and Maller Tree into second and third without too much fuss.
That performance marked Absolutlyfantastic out as a smart horse, so he could be the one to beat again now. The likes of Boxer Beat and Formal Bid have placed form and Still Point is an able Flat recruit, but they may lack the selection's class.
The Jim Dreaper-trained pair Cavite Beta and Sizing Santiago are two other Potts-owned horses that appeal. Both of Dreaper's charges have been transferred from English handlers, with Cavite Beta potentially the one that is open to significant improvement.
An Old Vic gelding that sluiced up in a bumper before doing likewise in a hurdle race in November, he tackles a conditions hurdle here. Augustine Leahy's Rheinland and Maurice Phelan's Alhellal are maiden winners that could have more to offer, but maybe not as much as Cavite Beta.
On the basis of a couple of suspect turns in between bumper and maiden hurdle triumphs, Sizing Santiago looks less talented but the seven-runner beginners' chase that Andrew Lynch's mount runs in here is not a great race.
Just prior to that, the €17,875 three-mile handicap hurdle is the most valuable and competitive event on the card.
Five last-time-out winners feature in 18-strong line-up, while Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins team up with the still-unexposed Wee Giant.
However, Trabajo, representing the in-form John 'Shark' Hanlon and seven-pound claimer Brian Hayes, may be the one here. A dual bumper winner that got off the mark over flights in impressive fashion at Listowel, Trabajo could well be a match for his first-time rating of 116.
On tonight's all-weather programme at Dundalk, John Oxx's Zanughan adds a touch of quality to proceedings in the Group Three Diamond Stakes.
Once thought of as a Derby prospect, the Azamour colt returned from a lay-off to oblige in Listed company at Galway, and could yet go on to bigger things.
Oxx and Johnny Murtagh might initiate a double with Dawariya, second to Rock And Roll Kid at Leopardstown recently, in the 10-furlong handicap. Following Rock And Roll Kid's victory at The Curragh on Sunday, that form reads well now.