Friday 26 May 2017

Rivage D'or can follow up Lieutenant's lead

Thomas Kelly

THE covers are gradually coming off some of the jumping game's leading lights, but unlike last Sunday, punters will struggle to find a star of the future on today's Tipperary card.

The weekend action at the Limerick Junction track produced a string of promising winners: novice hurdler Tavern Times which ran a decent field ragged; second-season novice hurdler The Real Article which showed a smart turn of foot; and exciting bumper winner Shu Lewis, a horse with enormous potential.

But perhaps the most eye-catching performance was the chasing debut of Cheltenham winner First Lieutenant, which produced a solid round of jumping to beat previous winner Slieveardagh in the novice chase.

His trainer Mouse Morris has a habit of leaving something to work on, so it's safe to assume that there's a lot of improvement to come from the six-year-old.

Predictably, his handler is anxious to get more experience into his stable star before setting targets.

"I don't really have anything in mind for him yet," Morris explained yesterday.

"We'll probably just look for a winner's race somewhere, get more experience into him and use it as a stepping stone.

"I hope there's plenty to look forward to. He has the brain for jumping as he was clever and fiddled them when he needed to."

The Dessie Hughes-trained Rivage D'or -- which runs in the same Gigginstown House colours as First Lieutenant -- looks to have a favourite's chance today.

Second to Kerb Appeal in a three-mile handicap hurdle when last seen at the Punchestown Festival, the six-year-old should have no problem with the soft ground and could be hard to beat.

Meanwhile, Punchestown have announced major price reductions of up to 33pc for the upcoming season, which gets under way with a two-day meeting on October 12 and 13.

Irish Independent

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