Windermere chosen to lord it over Naas rivals
Aupcharlie bids to atone for his excruciating last-gasp Grade One defeat at Leopardstown when he tackles this afternoon's Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase at Naas.
Willie Mullins' seven-year-old was having just his second start over fences when cruising into the lead on the run to the last under Andrew Lynch at the Foxrock venue over Christmas. However, on his first stab at three miles, he failed to pull away, as Ruby Walsh rallied the dour Back In Focus to foil his stablemate by a head.
It was a fine performance from the runner-up, but it was also alarming that he didn't see the job out from such a commanding position.
As a result, and bearing in mind that he could trade at short odds, it is worth having a look elsewhere tomorrow, with Jim Culloty's Lord Windermere the preferred alternative from his five rivals.
An embryonic, old-fashioned chaser that had the class to win three times over hurdles last term, the Oscar gelding finished a commendable second to Dylan Ross and Mikael D'Haguenet respectively on his initial two fencing forays. He then built on those outings to draw clear of the former Grade One winner Marasonnien at Leopardstown last month, confirming himself a real improver under Tom Doyle.
Today, Lord Windermere steps up to three miles for a first time and the suspicion is that this will bring about further progress. Moreover, when you recall that he had Aupcharlie over seven lengths behind when scoring over hurdles at Thurles in November 2011, his overall profile is worthy of nap status in the €40,000 Grade Two.
Davy Russell rides Tofino Bay in the feature, but it is three other rides on the card, which must survive an 8.0 inspection, that are fancied.
In the Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle, Mullins' precocious Un Atout should collect for him, while Pat Fahy's Morning Assembly, a clear second to the smart Sizing Gold on its Leopardstown return, is the standout option in the opening maiden.
The Youghal man is on Solwhit in the Limestone Lad Hurdle. Charles Byrnes' six-time Grade One winner was a hugely encouraging second to Bog Warrior on his first start for two years at Punchestown on New Year's Eve, a display that suggested he still has plenty more to offer at nine years of age, at least in this company.
If he doesn't suffer from the 'bounce' factor, Solwhit should claim the Grade Two, with So Young likely to take advantage if he flounders. Mullins' charge ran well to be third to Monksland last time out, but wouldn't have the class of an on-song Solwhit.