What Katie will Do to scupper Ruby
Published 31/12/2011 | 05:00
Katie Walsh can land the most valuable prize on offer at Punchestown today when she takes the reins on her father Ted's That'll Do Me in the €14,625 handicap hurdle.
The leading amateur rider filled in for her brother Ruby with aplomb on Seabass at Limerick earlier in the week and this time, the former champion jockey is aboard the top-weight Pozyc for Willie Mullins, leaving Katie to partner the selection.
An easy winner at Thurles in November, That'll Do Me was denied by a head when going down to Kyle's Turn off a 13lb higher mark at Punchestown subsequently.
He gets another six pounds for that now, but is progressive enough to go close again off just 10st 1lb.
Pozyc has gone up the same amount for his second to Sweet My Lord at Cork, while the likes of Capellanus, He'llberemembered and Battling Boru are others with chances in what is an immensely competitive heat.
Second to Dare To Doubt last time, the Edward O'Grady-trained Capellanus sports first-time blinkers for Paul Carberry.
Mullins can close out what has been a great year for him by taking the previous two hurdles with Mikael D'Haguenet and Darroun.
The 2009 Cheltenham Festival victor Mikael D'Haguenet (pictured below) returned to something like his old self when prevailing at Fairyhouse, and may not face too much of a test from just three rivals.
Western Leader, on its first start since finishing second in a Grade One at Aintree in April of 2010, would be feared if he had a run under his belt.
John 'Shark' Hanlon's charge looked an exciting prospect back then, but Mikael D'Haguenet's race-fitness is bound to stand to him.
Darroun's assignment is much less straightforward in a three-year-old maiden hurdle that features a number of fair sorts. Argocat, Edeymi, El Toreros and Hollymount King have all shown hurdling form already, while Gordon Elliott's Shadow Catcher was useful on the Flat.
If he is to score at the first time of asking, Darroun will need to be pretty useful, but he has the right profile.
A winner on the Flat for the Aga Khan in France in the summer, the grey son of Dalakhani now sports Rich Ricci's distinguished pink silks.
Mullins' Soll, unbeaten in two point-to-points and a Newcastle novice hurdle, is passed over in favour of Noel Meade's Fully Funded in the beginners' chase.
Luke's Benefit is napped to exploit a favourable mark on its handicap chasing bow for versatile trainer-rider Denis Hogan, with the Francis Flood youngster Senior Again rated as the main danger.
At Tramore, the ever-mercurial Mississippi River gets a tentative vote to topple the Mullins-trained Turban in the Centenary Year Novice Hurdle. John Kiely's Sadler's Wells gelding is a bit of a reluctant hero, but he had three subsequent winners behind when he submitted to Andrew McNamara's urgings at Fairyhouse, so it may be worth keeping him on side for the moment.
The subsequent maiden hurdle at the Waterford venue provides an ideal opportunity for the consistent seven-year-old The Ethiopian to strike for Christy Roche and Alan Crowe.