Trust in Miss Faithful to set up tasty double for Butler
MISS FAITHFUL is napped to collect for Peter McCreery's Clane, Co Kildare, stable on tomorrow's low-key card at Thurles before the festive racing begins in earnest on Thursday.
Shane Butler's mount tackles the Horse & Jockey Hotel Mares' Maiden Hurdle, an 18-runner affair that lacks any real quality.
The Colm Murphy-trained The Cookie Jar probably has the most obvious credentials following placed efforts behind Carriganog and Gambling Girl, but there has been plenty to like about the way that Miss Faithful has been running.
She wasn't disgraced on either of her first two hurdle outings behind The Tullow Tank and Moyle Park, before catching the eye when fifth to the smart Urticaire at Navan two weeks ago.
Having raced quite handily, she kept on honestly all the way to the line, so she has no shortage of appeal now that she drops in grade for a modest mares' only contest.
Kilkenny native Butler is also trusted to deliver aboard Moiqen in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.
Philip Byrne's charge won a beginners' heat here in February, and falls on his two most recent outings do not do him justice.
He isn't a bad jumper, but his momentum took over when he clipped the top of the second-last fence on his Gowran Park return in November. None travelled better at the time, and his performance suggested that he is well up to winning a race like this off his current rating.
Christy Roche's Sitcom is the danger. Jody McGarvey's mount gained a deserved win at the north Tipperary track last time, and she might not be at all badly treated off a mark of 116.
Local Templemore-based handler John Ryan might take the two-mile-six-furlong maiden hurdle with Willow Grange. Rivals Thunder And Roses and Urano are two that hard to trust right now, but Ryan's five-year-old has been quite progressive.
Third to Gold Patrol in November, he then just failed to reel in the idling Gort An Chnoic over two-and-a-half miles at Clonmel.
He steps back up to two-and-three-quarters now, so that should give him a chance of gaining a first win under 7lb claimer Ryan Treacy.
The novices' hurdle over the same trip is an interesting little contest.
While Los Amigos was too good for Grand Jesture over fences at Fairyhouse in November, Grand Jesture might be better suited by the switch to flights.
Nonetheless, Los Amigos is progressive, so it is worth speculating he can reassert his superiority here for Jim Dreaper and Keith Donoghue.