TOM MULLINS is napped to secure his first winner of 2013 when Some Article, his only runner of the day, tackles the maiden hurdle at Punchestown this afternoon.
Ostensibly, the INH Stallion Owners EBF-sponsored two-miler is a well-contested affair, with Champagne Agent, Curley Bill and Way Up In The Air all worthy opponents to the selection.
However, none of that trio has quite the same potential as Mullins' five-year-old, which ran away with the valuable Goffs Land Rover Bumper on heavy ground when making its racecourse debut here last April.
Subsequently purchased by JP McManus, Some Article did lots right when fourth to the very smart Un Atout on its hurdling bow at Navan in December. He travelled well and jumped cleanly under today's rider Mark Walsh, only to tire close home.
All told, it was a solid performance that augured well for the future. The famous green and gold colours might also grace the winner's enclosure courtesy of Take A Shot in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.
Francis Flood's representative got off the mark over fences at Down Royal on St Stephen's Day, and a 6lb penalty still only leaves Jody McGarvey's mount on a mark of 101, which he was previously able to score off over flights.
In the day's most valuable race, the €27,500 Grade Three juvenile hurdle, the Paul Townend-ridden Diakali, a facile victor on its Gowran Park bow, looks the pick for Willie Mullins, while the champion trainer and Davy Russell might combine to take the opening beginners' chase with the lightly raced Toostrong.
In the Conyngham Cup, recently retitled the Amateur Riders' Grand National, Wexford men John Berry and Barry 'Bon' O'Neill ought to have a big say with Whats On The Menu, which steps up to a more suitable three miles after finishing a commendable third behind Luke's Benefit here over the minimum trip last month.
Alasty also appeals in the later handicap hurdle. Barry Cash's partner had two subsequent winners behind when second to Happy New Year here last time, so he might be ready to supply rookie Kildare handler Kieran Egan with a first winner now.