Won In The Dark can recapture former glories
RUBY WALSH attempts to succeed where eight other jockeys have failed since February 2010 when he partners Won In The Dark in the feature event at Cork this evening.
Sabrina Harty's classy if frustrating gelding recorded the last of six career triumphs at Leopardstown all of 17 months ago.
If he were to oblige in tonight's Dermot Casey -- Hire, Sales & Tree Care Hurdle, it would be his first win in 12 attempts, but there are grounds for believing that he will finally step back into the winner's circle now.
Six others go after the €13,488 first prize in this two-and-a-half-miler, with Oneeightofamile potentially the most significant threat to Won In The Dark. John Kiely's charge progressed to score for a second time in four hurdling starts at the Punchestown Festival, sluicing up under top weight off a mark of 123 in a 25-runner handicap.
Should Oneeightofamile continue to improve, he could have a big say this evening. However, with Won In The Dark, which is rated 153, set to concede just a pound to the now 139-rated Oneeightofamile after David Splaine's claim is taken into account, the former Grade One-winning hurdler remains attractively weighted.
Despite his losing run, Won In The Dark's odds-on defeat over two miles at Punchestown in May was a first below-par effort for some time, and the step back up to this evening's trip will suit. On his best form, Powerstation would also have a chance here, but the veteran stayer may not be quite so comfortable over the distance.
Eyre Apparent is another seeking to win at the 12th time of asking over hurdles in the opening maiden at the Mallow track. Dessie Hughes' six-year-old is consistent, and his third to Presenting Nama at Clonmel in May was as well as he has ever run.
If Eyre Apparent can repeat that level of performance under Bryan Cooper now, he is fancied to have talent enough in an otherwise difficult-looking heat.
The mares' handicap hurdle could throw up a local winner in the shape of Lady Perspex for Dungourney-based operator James Sheehan. Placed on her only two starts this term, Lady Perspex is due a rub of the green.
On the day's Flat card at Gowran Park, Adiynara appeals off bottom weight in the nine-furlong handicap. Little Arrows and Aznavour, first and second at Fairyhouse last week, renew rivalry here, but Mick Halford's three-year-old is preferred after accruing two recent wins outside of handicap company.
Aznavour's John Oxx stablemate Zabarajad should get the day off to a good start for favourite-backers in the seven-furlong maiden. The Invincible Spirit colt can be expected to leave behind the disappointment of his defeat at Tipperary in early June now that he has been freshened up.