Tip-top Days Hotel can score for De Bromhead
A cracking renewal of the Matty Ryan Memorial Kinloch Brae Chase is the highlight on a decent Thurles card that boasts total prize money of no less than €159,000.
The two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two, which offers a €52,500 winner's pot, is the Tipperary venue's annual flagship event, and former Hennessy Gold Cup hero Joncol is one of three horses – Quito De La Roque and Tranquil Sea being the others – in the eight-strong line-up to have each managed a pair of top-level triumphs.
Oscar Time, runner-up in the 2011 Grand National, continues his preparations for this season's Aintree spectacular under Long Run's Gold Cup-winning rider Sam Waley-Cohen, with Foildbuh and Rathlin other able campaigners that will keep everything honest.
However, Roi Du Mee and Days Hotel are the form horses. Unbeaten in its last four, Gordon Elliott's Roi Du Mee has been a revelation in testing going this term.
Following a superlative Tramore triumph over Tranquil Sea, he could again take plenty of stopping, but the handicapper has Days Hotel three pounds clear on figures.
Given the calibre of horse that Henry de Bromhead's charge drew clear of in fine style on his Cork reappearance after a lay-off, that theoretical superiority is justifiable.
Realt Dubh, a solid Grade One performer at best, was six lengths behind, with the classy Blazing Tempo third and Foildubh – runner-up to Call The Police here since – fourth.
In the context of today's race, that is tip-top form, so Andrew Lynch's mount is nap material, given that he has scope to improve on just his fourth start over fences.
Unusually given his current dominance, Willie Mullins has no runner in the main event, but he has plenty of others.
The frustrating Mikael D'Haguenet gets the nod to account for recent winners He'llberemembered and Western Leader – if Ruby Walsh can keep him on his feet in the WT O'Grady Memorial Novice Chase, while Tarla is also fancied to overcome a last-time-out spill in the Grade Two mares' equivalent.
A stunning victor on her fencing bow at Clonmel, the precocious seven-year-old tipped up at the last at Cork in December when she looked fairly sure to maintain her 100pc record on completed starts for the champion trainer.
As it was, she knuckled on landing and, while rivals like Cnoc Seoda – a faller at the same fence when lying in second – Avondhu Lady and Noras Fancy are all smart, Tarla is the class act.
Later on, rising star Jane Mangan has fine prospects on Carries Darling and Oscar Delta for her father Jimmy.
Carries Darling makes her handicap bow over the two-and-a-half-mile trip that she won her maiden over in November, while Oscar Delta, third to Salsify at Cheltenham last year, sets a tall standard in the hunter chase.