Bonisland can show his class
BONISLAND can justify the nap selection for local handler Gordon Elliott at Navan today.
The Bank Holiday card is highly competitive, although just four go to post for the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle that Bonisland contests.
However, it is still an intriguing contest, with Harry Rogers' useful Irish Thistle and Oliver Brady's Maccas Lad joining in opposition against the unbeaten Willie Mullins-trained Suntiep.
A Limerick bumper winner that landed a decent maiden hurdle here in January, Suntiep is the one to beat under Ruby Walsh, whose chances of regaining the jockeys' championship for a first time since 2010 have improved dramatically now that reigning champion and current leader Davy Russell is sidelined.
As a Gigginstown Stud-owned horse, Bonisland would have been Russell's ride, but Barry Geraghty is a more than capable deputly and his mount appeals as possessing that bit more quality than Suntiep.
A point-to-point, bumper and maiden hurdle winner, on his three latest starts the five-year-old has been placed behind Busty Brown, Rule The World and Ballycasey. That is the best form on offer, so he should deliver now under Geraghty.
In the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle, Dermot Weld's impressive course bumper winner Some Tikket could follow up, while Bryan Cooper gets the nod to continue the prolific vein of form that he found at Cheltenham in the €32,500 Novices' Handicap Chase Final.
This three-miler is a cracking affair, with 16 largely in-form and smart sorts declared. The likes of Gallant Oscar, Panther Claw, Mr Goodenough, Carry Each Other and Viaduct Joey all have live chances. Nonetheless, Cooper's mount Wise Oscar might still be well treated.
Since joining Dessie Hughes, he has improved rapidly and he is 12lbs higher now than when obliging over course and distance recently. He is on a three-timer now and could still have a bit in hand off just 10st 10lb, given the decisive manner of his victory last time.
In the handicap chase that follows, Saigheada Beaga might score for Terence O'Brien and Paul Townend. Placed at Leopardstown last time, he is just coming into form.