Trust Golden Silver to show his mettle
Published 19/02/2011 | 05:00
Naas manager Tom Ryan is more than hopeful that tomorrow's Paddy Power-sponsored Cheltenham trials meeting -- its equivalent was abandoned 12 months ago -- beats the threat of further heavy weekend showers.
"Compared to two weeks ago when we got 52 millimetres of rain in just 36 hours -- more than for the whole of January and had to call off the card -- we are in much better shape,'' Ryan said.
"I'm happy enough with the ground and the meeting is under no threat as we speak," he explained.
There will be very few complaints either from Naas patrons should the fixture produce some more top-flight performers, such as Go Native, Joncol and Rite Of Passage, which were successful over hurdles, fences and in the bumper during the corresponding 2009 session.
Indeed, tomorrow's finale produced the subsequent Cheltenham heroes Pizarro and Hairy Molly in 2002 and 2006 respectively, with the winner this time round qualifying for a Paddy Power bonus of double the Cheltenham prize money if managing to follow up in the Cotswolds.
Although the paddypower.com Chase does look at the mercy of Golden Silver, already a triple Grade Two victor this season, the other half-dozen events down for decision are quite competitive, with the twin novice races and the bumper commanding the closest scrutiny.
Jackpot investors, who will be banking almost exclusively on two-mile specialist Golden Silver against a maximum of three inferior opponents, may also be largely looking to stable companion Day Of A Lifetime for the solution to the following paddypower.com Novice Hurdle.
This powerful King's Theatre gelding which readily accounted for Oscars Well on his debut in a Fairyhouse bumper last winter, before losing the plot in the Cheltenham showpiece again, looked a cut above the rest when making a winning return over timber four weeks ago.
Those who witnessed that very taking Leopardstown comeback will be loath to oppose Paul Townend's mount this time, even if Willie Mullins also saddles that useful mare Dare To Doubt off bottom weight and a possible pacemaker in Aughaloor.
Prima Vista would appear the pick of the pair saddled by the champion trainer's great rival Noel Meade.
And it might be folly also to ignore the claims of Darwins Fox which was too quick for the re-opposing Tornedo Shay over this course and distance in January.
In the absence of any Willie Mullins runner, Gordon Elliott's hat-trick seeker Roi Du Mee is chosen for the Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase.
This French import has made great strides under Davy Russell since being upped in trip on the prevailing heavy ground.
Topically-named duo Presenting Nama and Letter Of Credit likewise have successive victories to recommend them for the pro-am bumper.
But the finish may be fought out by the less-exposed Samain and Mississippi River, which gets slight preference to atone for connections after that unlucky Leopardstown defeat by Jim Will Fix It.