Tuesday 28 March 2017

Spring The Que can lead cavalry charge home under Enright

The rescheduled MCR Handicap Hurdle meeting at Leopardstown this afternoon (3.05) features another five-strong team from the Willie Mullins yard attempting to compensate for Thursday's Thyestes Chase eclipse.

The champion trainer's former Cheltenham hero Ebadiyan heads the weights for this Grade B extended handicap, which was snowed off a fortnight ago but again includes all of the original prime fancies.

Thus, it will be interesting to see if the welcome reduced admission prices for the novel two-day fixture at the Foxrock venue manages to arrest the trend of falling attendances.

The versatile Carthalawn, which was third in last year's renewal behind shock scorer Penny's Bill and hotpot Psycho, tries once more on behalf of the profitable Charles Byrnes and Davy Russell partnership.

The nine-year-old may well start favourite today while Gerry Keane's much-improved Steviemac and the Martin Brassil-trained Navan scorer Moville have also figured strongly in the ante-post market.

Hat-trick seeker Thousand Stars, off a career-high mark of 133 after fluent wins at Naas and Fairyhouse, as well as Tawaagg, which was last seen over timber at Galway last summer, would appear the pick of the Mullins quintet.

Penny's Bill's Wexford handler, Liz Doyle, tries again with her father Freddy's veteran On Your Way but the in-form Sean Flanagan has pinned his hopes instead on Paul Flynn's less- exposed Bremen.

However, if there is to be a repeat success in this cavalry charge, it wouldn't be a major surprise if the Cork-Kerry alliance of Robert Tyner and Philip Enright fitted the bill with their 2007 victor, Spring The Que.

The 11-year-old has had a six-week break since getting back to winning ways in Cork and the 6lb penalty incurred does not appear excessive as it means the mount has only 4lb more to carry today than three years ago.

In contrast, Carthalawn, which is more often seen over fences than hurdles these days, is burdened with a 9lb hike since last January, while Steviemac and Thousand Stars might be in the handicapper's grip at this stage too.

Money has been in circulation likewise during the week for Cockleshell Road -- whose owners also have joint bottom weight Tarkari competing -- and Uncle Tom Cobley for Thyestes runner-up Hangover's connections.

Invariably, support materialises on the day for a posse of runners and, more in hope than confidence, the vote goes to seasoned campaigner Spring The Que in a race that often produces its quota of hard-luck stories.

Regular punters may be quite content, though, to look elsewhere on an interesting card to secure the day's expenses with Sorceror (Annual Badge Beginners Chase, 1.30) and Roberto Goldback in the MCR Novice Chase (2.0) meriting close scrutiny.

While also respecting chasing debutant Shakervilz and Deal Done to a lesser extent in the former contest, Sorceror has demonstrated sufficient ability to date over the larger obstacles to land this modest prize.

The following event, which kicks off the Jackpot, sees Dancing Tornado attempting to defy a 5lb penalty incurred at his local Limerick course last month against four rivals which have plenty going for them as well.

Not fully effective so far over fences, Apt Approach and Jessies Dream have Roberto Goldback and China Rock to worry about plus Dancing Tornado. In the underfoot conditions, preference is for Roberto Goldback, which won readily over timber here last season.

Meanwhile, Willie Mullins has revealed that smart recruit Zaidpour will not see a racecourse this season after suffering a setback. The former Alain Royer-Dupre inmate is a half-brother to last season's Triumph Hurdle hero Zaynar and, having been heavily backed for the same contest in ante-post lists, Zaidpour had been as short as 14/1 for Festival glory.

While he is still in training, Mullins has decided to give this season a miss with a view to retaining his novice status for the next campaign.

"He won't run this season now, unfortunately, as he got a cut while schooling on Monday and I won't be able to have him ready for the big races," said the champion trainer. "He's in training now but we felt we might as well draw stumps for this season so he can still be a novice next year."

Irish Independent

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