Scotsirish can deny Rare Bob a winning comeback
Fairyhouse could yet have the stage to itself tomorrow with a rival Cork meeting cancelled and a definite thaw required if the hastily rescheduled Thurles session is to survive this afternoon's inspection.
Turf Club officials, who discovered parts of the hurdles course at Thurles still frostbound yesterday morning, will be back at the Tipperary venue today at 3.0 to make their decision.
The fate of Thursday's original hurdles and bumper card could indeed be further compromised if there's a deluge overnight while the surface to be used there for Monday's 'chases-only programme remained frozen yesterday.
Nevertheless the main concentration tomorrow will undoubtedly be on the higher-profile action featuring the Normans Grove Chase at Fairyhouse, where conditions underfoot will put the emphasis firmly on stamina.
Last year's winner Mansony surely needs to rekindle his enthusiasm if he's to make an impact again for the Arthur Moore stable and regular partner Davy Russell in this Grade Two contest over an extended two miles.
This French-bred gelding has considerable leeway to make up from the Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown after Christmas on the selection, Scotsirish, which was third there to stable companion Golden Silver.
Willie Mullins opted yesterday to hold that scorer in reserve and saddle both Scotsirish and the topically-named Snowy Morning instead as many eyes will focus on seasonal debutant Rare Bob for future reference.
Paddy Flood's mount ended the last campaign in some style when defeating Cooldine and Joncol at the Punchestown festival. Rare Bob will hardly manage a successful return to the fray here as the connections of Aran Concerto hope for a clear round after two dismal displays.
In the heel of the hunt a forward showing from Rare Bob by earning some place money against the race-fit pair of Scotsirish and Mansony could be a satisfactory outcome for this eight-year-old from the Dessie Hughes yard.
The champion alliance of Mullins and Ruby Walsh will no doubt be expecting to complete a quick double when Cousin Vinny makes his second appearance over the larger obstacles in the Beginners Chase.
Odds-on when foiled by Roberto Goldback at Navan five weeks ago, this ultra-smart runner has another former Cheltenham winner Nicanor and Kimberlite King to overcome as well as An Cathaoir Mor.
While the latter wasn't disgraced behind Captain Cee Bee and subsequent impressive Leopardstown victor Zaarito at Naas, Henry de Bromhead's charge may not manage to finish as strongly now as Cousin Vinny.
The 20pc On Line Discount Novice Hurdle over three miles could play to the strengths of the admirably consistent The Hurl, which takes a definite drop in class after finding Shinrock Paddy and Rhyl Accord too speedy at Navan.
The last-named and Thegreatjohnbrowne swerved this probable marathon to tackle the shorter INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle at Thurles instead and Rhyl Accord could make that ploy pay off if that meeting survives.