Ruby can score On Quadrillon
Ruby Walsh makes a welcome return to an Irish racecourse when he partners Quadrillon for Willie Mullins in the Lucan Leinster National at Naas tomorrow, WRITES RICHARD FORRISTAL.
Mullins has runners in five of the six races for which Walsh is eligible, but the reigning champion jockey is employed only in the race in which Mullins is doubly represented.
The Kildare rider will doubtless be looking to build up his fitness gradually, but, with Cheltenham looming, it is a development that also augurs well for Paul Townend, who has shot to the top of the jockeys' championship in Walsh's absence.
Walsh, though, may be on the right one in the feature.
Townend's mount Ballytrim, which shoulders top weight, ran a fine race to be third in the Thyestes last time, but Quadrillon is a horse with more scope for improvement.
The seven-year-old French-bred finished third in a good novice chase in January, and he makes his handicap debut here off a reasonable-looking 127. With just 10st 11lb on his back, he can give Mullins a third successive win in the three-mile contest. Noble Concorde, a game second to Some Target at Punchestown on his most recent start, may be the pick of the rest in the €19,500 highlight.
Mullins and Townend should get their day off to the best possible start with Cottrelsbooley in the two-mile novice hurdle. Noel Meade's September Listowel winner Dilshaan's Prize is an interesting contender in this, but that one will have its work cut out to catch the front-running Cottrelsbooley on soft ground.
Another set to return from a break is Rayhani in the Billy Brophy Beginners' Chase, though Jaffonnien and Shirley Casper are two race-fit contenders that will take all the beating. Jaffonnien has yet to win since landing a Leopardstown bumper on his debut in 2008, but he was an encouraging second to Tawaagg at Gowran Park last time.
In the handicap hurdle, Tony Martin's Le Marquis gets the nod over Pozyc. The latter has potential on his first start since July, but Martin's charge was impressive when victorious at Cork in December, and a 9lb penalty might not stop him now.