Ruby's double prospects look good at Gowran
The Willie Mullins bandwagon rolls onto Gowran Park today, with the Kilkenny native's Are Ya Right Chief fancied to justify the nap selection.
Seamus Braddish's De Dodger, an appropriately named bumper winner here last year, poses a danger in the two-and-quarter-mile maiden hurdle, as might the Tom Foley-trained Golanbrook. Nonetheless, both have passed up decent opportunities already.
Are Ya Right Chief is making its jumping debut under Ruby Walsh and should be good enough if he reproduces the level of performance that saw him collect on his reappearance in a Fairyhouse bumper.
Please Talk, third home then, has since franked the form by coasting up in a maiden hurdle at Punchestown, so it's hard to see past this exciting propsect.
Mullins and Walsh could also take the opening three-year-old contest with Darroun. A winner on the Flat for the Aga Khan in France last June, the grey son of Dalakhani may not need to be Triumph Hurdle material to come out on top of his 11 rivals today.
Punchestown winner One Cool Shabra is useful and will ensure this is a proper test, but must concede 10lbs here.
Bat Masterson, second to Ut De Sivola at Clonmel last week, is having its fourth run over flights and should be thereabouts again.
The two-mile novice hurdle, with a winner's pot of €8,970, is possibly the most interesting race on the card.
Organisedconfusion has his second outing of the season in this, but Arthur Moore's Irish Grand National hero may be more effective on conditions less testing than the officially soft going.
Ceol Rua, beaten at odds-on last time, has a solid chance for Mullins and Walsh, while Make A Track chased home the smart Mount Benbulben and Texas Jack in a Grade Two at Navan. However, preference is for Better Times.
With Davy Russell claimed for Make A Track, Barry Geraghty takes over on Denis Cullen's charge now.
Three times a runner-up over flights last term, Better Times won with something in hand despite hanging a little at Thurles three weeks ago, and its reasonable to assume that he will come on for that first outing since January.
Elsewhere, connections of Sunnyhillboy remain baffled by his poor performance at Cheltenham last Saturday. Jonjo O'Neill's charge was never going well and was pulled up before the second-last fence.
He was backed down to 7/2 favourite from double those odds -- mainly as champion jockey Tony McCoy chose to ride him over the winner, Quantitativeeasing.
"He's fine, but didn't perform on the day for whatever reason, but he's none the worse," said owner JP McManus' racing manager Frank Berry. "We'll give him a few weeks to get over it before we go again with him."