Smooth operator Raz can pip Doctor
A six-race card that comprises five hurdles and a bumper gets under way at 4.25 at Cork racecourse in Mallow this afternoon, with big fields the order of the day on a programme that is sure to test punters.
Boasting a winner's pot of €14,625, the Boole Handicap is the richest prize on offer, and the 17-runner three-miler is also the contest that features the best quality of horse at the twilight fixture.
Cheltenham regular Powerstation tops the weights, while Ruby Walsh teams up with Willie Mullins for the likely favourite Doctor Deejay.
That consistent sort is interesting as he steps dramatically up in trip, but the son of Hawk Wing's pedigree doesn't suggest a stamina emphasis. The less exposed Raz De Maree, which is proven over the distance, may be a better option.
Dessie Hughes' six-year-old landed a maiden in testing ground in January, before taking second behind stable-mate Rivage D'Or at Naas next time. Silent Creek, fifth on that occasion, has since won, so Raz De Maree holds plenty of appeal now off a 6lb higher mark that is largely negated by Bryan Cooper's 5lb claim.
The opening maiden hurdle may come down to which of Marlos Moment and Baily Green improve more for their respective efforts in third and fourth behind Flemenstar at Navan. Tony Martin's High Cian is another to consider, but Baily Green looks the one with the scope to progress.
Andrew McNamara's mount's effort last time came on the back of a fall behind So Young, so he will be a more potent threat now.
Walsh could get on the scoresheet with the in-form Molko Jack in the following handicap, while American Touch has strong claims for local handler TJ Nagle in the Explicit.ie Maiden Hurdle.
A point-to-point winner on his only start last year, American Touch finished second to Dun Masc on his racecourse debut at Navan two weeks ago.
A full-brother to Nagle's smart American Job, which also won at Cork on its second start after landing a point-to-point, Tom Doyle's mount could prove a little better than average.