Rivage D'Or can bounce back to slow Mullins juggernaut
Tote Ireland recorded a bumper turnover last Sunday as a result of the spate of abandonments across England and France, so the state-owned facility looks sure to benefit again at Thurles this afternoon.
A pool of over €1m -- nearly seven times the corresponding figure for 2011 -- was generated at Punchestown four days ago, with the Placepot reaching a record tally of €80,895.75. Today's midweek spread wouldn't be expected to yield those kind of totals and Wolverhampton and Meydan will provide overseas customers with alternatives, but the ongoing dearth of cross-channel jumping activity is clearly a welcome source of inflated revenue for Tote Ireland, which sponsors the most valuable prize on offer at Thurles.
Eleven runners tackle its €10,005 conditions chase, with the all-conquering Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh axis represented by Raptor. Having showed up well before falling at Leopardstown over Christmas, that one disappointed at Naas for no apparent reason.
Jimmy Mangan's game front-running mare Quarryvale will have claims here under the trainer's son Paddy, but taken to bounce back to form is Rivage D'Or. While Dessie Hughes' novice has struggled in better company of late, he comes out well at the weights in this.
Should jockeys' championship leader Davy Russell get his day off to a flyer on that one, Walsh, his closest pursuer, probably won't be long striking back. Mullins' fencing debutant Gagewell Flyer ought to take plenty of stopping under the former champion in the beginners' chase, with Dare To Doubt likewise fancied for the partnership in the mares' equivalent.
Third behind Knockfierna last month, the Graded hurdle winner will relish this testing going. Mullins could also provide his son Patrick with a brace on two family-owned horses.
The in-form amateur rider takes the reins on the easy Cork bumper winner Perfect Gentleman in the two-mile-six-furlong maiden hurdle, while he will bid to steer Immediate Response to a second win in eight days in the following handicap hurdle over the same trip. A runaway scorer at Clonmel on its first start since 2009, the latter nine-year-old will have to race off a 13lb higher mark in future, so he looks well in here.