Prince ready to rule as Russell in line for treble
On the back of a tame effort at The Curragh three weeks ago, Noble Prince faces what should be a straightforward task on his return to chasing at Naas today.
A paltry two opponents will line up alongside Paul Nolan's Cheltenham Festival winner in the €17,875 Ben Dunne Gyms Poplar Chase, neither of which should trouble him.
The Tony Martin-trained Osirixamix is the closer of the two to Noble Prince on official figures, yet that one still has 16lbs to find with the favourite here.
Having twice finished second to Realt Dubh over the minimum trip in Grades Ones last term, Nolan's seven-year-old, due to be ridden by Davy Russell for a first time this afternoon, was ideally suited by a half-mile further in the Jewson Chase at Prestbury Park in March.
He might have followed up in the Powers Gold Cup, but for crashing out at the second-last, so it will be a surprise if he doesn't collect now.
Granted, two miles on soft ground may not be Noble Prince's optimum conditions, but his class should tell against such inferior opposition.
Nolan and Russell are fancied to double up with Far Away So Close in the Weatherbys Ireland GSB Beginners' Chase.
Another that fell while still in front at the second-last on its most recent outing, the Gigginstown Stud representative should be more clued in for that chasing debut at Limerick earlier in the month.
Russell also gets the nod on Some Present in the 20-furlong handicap hurdle. With a field of 18, this is a wide-open affair, and last-time-out winners Double Seven, Pozyc and King's Parade are among the contenders with good recent form.
Some Present has run only once in the past 18 months, but it was an eye-catching effort that saw him finish third at Gowran Park a month ago.
When he was last seen prior to that in the spring of 2010, he was a classy novice that had placed form in Grade Ones, so a first-time handicap mark of 129 could yet prove lenient.
The day's nap selection is Our Girl Salley in the K Windows & Doors Hurdle. Four of the seven runners here are rated 130 or higher, while the Listowel maiden winner Owega Star is another with no shortage of potential.
Dessie Hughes' Canaly is joint top-rated alongside Our Girl Salley. A three-time scorer after the turn of the year, Bryan Cooper's mount promises to keep improving.
Nonetheless, Our Girl Salley turned in one of her most accomplished performances on her reappearance for Prunella Dobbs a year ago, so she may well be at her best when fresh.
Furthermore, Katie Walsh's mount receives seven pounds from Canaly in this, a significant lump of weight if the handicapper's assessment of the pair is accurate.