Venture Capital to reward shrewd investment
WILLIE MULLINS' inordinate influence on the season's day-to-day proceedings could continue at Clonmel today, with each of his five declared runners likely to head their markets.
Still, for all that the Goresbridge native has left his peers toiling courtesy of a 138 tally that is just 10 shy of the combined total of the next four names on the trainers' table, his runners are often being over-bet now.
Of the six favourites he saddled on the last two race days, five were beaten, including two surprisingly priced odds-on shots.
That means there is value to be had in places and one that appeals against a potential Mullins shortie is the JP McManus-owned Venture Capital in the €29,000 Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle.
Philip Fenton's Presenting gelding impressed when making a successful hurdle bow at Wexford, before losing little in defeat to get close to Mullins' classy chaser Prince De Beauchene at Limerick at Christmas.
Ever since he won his bumper at Fairyhouse last term, Venture Capital has had huge potential so it will be disappointing if he doesn't progress to justify the nap vote now for Brian O'Connell.
The Mullins representative is Inish Island, which turns out for the first time since chasing home At Fishers Cross at Cheltenham in December.
While that is obviously decent form, it came over three miles and the suspicion is that two miles and six furlongs will be a bit too short for the dour seven-year-old in this afternoon's Grade Three.
The Mullins and Ruby Walsh partnership is impossible to oppose in the mares' hurdle, with Annie Power the quality horse on show.
Cadspeed might also be good enough in the beginners' chase, likewise Call The Police in the conditions chase.
Tom Mullins' Galway Plate hero Bob Lingo, Tranquil Sea and Forpadydeplasterer – winners of four Grade Ones – along with Ninetieth Minute and Magnanimity complete a decent line-up in the latter two-and-a-half-miler but, on recent form and ratings, recent Thurles scorer Call The Police is the one to beat.
In the maiden hurdle, Robert Tyner's Lughnasa, second to Mullins' Midnight Oil at Cork, is preferred to the champion trainer's Sarabad.
Tyner's fellow Cork-based handler Rodger Sweeney might plunder the handicap hurdle with Fiery Oscar.
Although this is a competitive affair comprised of 15 runners, former course winner Fiery Oscar shaped with some promise when sixth on his Thurles reappearance.
He turns out again now off a 1lb lower mark and his appeal is further enhanced by the presence up top of the trainer's talented 3lb-claiming son, Colman.