Beneficial Spirit has measure of Wexford rivals
Local handler Paul Nolan has booked the rejuvenated champion jockey Davy Russell to ride his recent course winner The Mooch in this evening's showpiece €15,000 handicap hurdle at Wexford.
At the third time of asking over flights, The Mooch clung on in a desperate finish last month, having also won its bumper at the south eastern venue on its third start. On its handicap bow off 115 for 11st 5lb, the hooded six-year-old has a chance, but this is a deeply competitive affair, with Totally Couture, Another Challenge and Go Paddy Go all also coming on the back of a victory.
Old Kilcash, which set Barry Connell back a whopping £300,000 after winning its point-to-point two year ago, suffers the ignominy of dropping to handicap company in this. John 'Shark' Hanlon's six-year-old is potentially well treated, likewise Mouse Morris' novice Horendus Hulabaloo.
However, it might be worth taking a punt on Beneficial Spirit at the other end of the experience spectrum. Philip Rothwell's 11-year-old hasn't won over flights since scoring here off a mark of 104 in 2008, but he has been running well, not least when placed here over fences off 121 last time.
Prior to that, Beneficial Spirit was a fine second to Sea Light in a good hurdle at Leopardstown off 100, so he has plenty appeal here off a 5lb higher mark under claimer Andrew Ring. Russell has some cracking rides throughout the card, with Oscar Sam and Highbrow Blue both fancied.
Nolan's Highbrow Blue is a tentative selection in a weak beginners' chase, while Philip Dempsey's Oscar Sam tackles the three-mile handicap hurdle after running encouragingly in third at Thurles.
In the handicap chase over the same trip, Sherika gets the nod to thwart the versatile Fiery Oscar now that she steps back up to three miles, with the nap vote going to Molly Connors in the bumper.
Henry de Bromhead's three-parts sister to the Grade One-winning Massini's Maguire ran a blinder when second to Briar Hill on her track bow here over hurdles in November. If she reproduces that level of display now, she should take plenty beating under Davy Roche.