Shariyan has competitive edge
SHARIYAN, a real eye-catcher when fourth at Leopardstown over Christmas, is the nap selection at Fairyhouse this afternoon.
The Colm Murphy-trained six-year-old, successful at Downpatrick back in July, tackles a competitive Tote Sports Lounge Novices' Handicap Hurdle, with two recent winners and a number of others with placed form among the selection's nine rivals.
Down Under, sent off at prohibitive odds when beaten in a similar race at Navan before Christmas, probably has more to give, but Shariyan is still preferred.
On its first run since Downpatrick, the son of Kayhasi stayed on to good effect under hands and heels riding at Leopardstown, in the process drawing the interest of the stewards, who found the horse to have finished lame.
However, Shariyan has clearly made a quick recovery, and appeals here under Robbie Power now that it steps up in trip to two and a half miles.
In the Follow Us On Facebook Novice Chase, Rathlin should be able to build on his excellent return to form over course and distance three weeks ago.
Disappointing to date over the bigger obstacles, Mouse Morris's charge underwent an operation to correct his breathing prior to that latest outing.
On the basis of his comprehensive triumph over Aitmatov and Harpsy Cord, the procedure has had the desired effect, and Davy Russell's mount is potentially the classiest performer on show today.
Friendly Society also brings winning form to the table for Michael Hourigan in this, but doesn't look quite as promising.
The all-conquering Willie Mullins should get his day off to a good start with The Bosses Cousin in the maiden hurdle, though the champion trainer's Maggie Connolly is opposed in the subsequent conditions race.
Darwins Fox, unraced since turning in a below par effort at Naas a year ago, gets the nod to overcome his lay-off in that.
Representing the Henry de Bromhead-Andrew Lynch axis, Darwins Fox had improved to land a decent Listed novice hurdle in taking style at Naas previously.
This won't be easy against mainly race-fit rivals, but he remains a useful prospect.