Brennan's genuine Article to see off rivals at Fairyhouse
There are few more polished jump jockeys than Davy Condon and the Cork-born rider will need to draw on all his expertise to get Mount Benbulben round Fairyhouse today.
Cautiously ridden when third to Jenari in a very good race on its fencing bow at Naas, the Gordon Elliott-trained seven-year-old didn't learn nearly as much as he might have that day. If anything, at Punchestown a fortnight ago his technique seemed to have regressed, and he eventually paid the price with a horrible fall three-out.
Unsurprisingly, given his class, Mount Benbulben was still bang in contention at the time. He has a third try in today's two-mile-five-furlong beginners' heat and, for all that he clearly needs to get his act together, he is tentatively fancied to do so.
At this stage, the hope is that his fall will have finally taught him some manners, which can often be the case. If it hasn't, there is ample opposition to take advantage, not least Mikael D'Haguenet, luckless when slithering a clear lead away on landing over the last fence in the very same Punchestown contest.
Condon (above) also gets the nod on David Christie's Monastrell in the handicap chase. At Down Royal a month ago, Monastrell turned in an improved effort to be second to Pires and he might prove leniently handicapped now that he is finding his form again.
In the later handicap hurdle, top-weight Bog Warrior, so facile in tomorrow's Grade One novice chase a year ago, also appeals as being well treated. Tony Martin's eight-year-old has lost its confidence over fences, but Davy Russell, who has passed up two high-profile rides in England today, could coax him home in front now.
Staying Article, with English-based Galway native Paddy Brennan up, is the day's nap in the Fairyhouse on Facebook Hurdle. His Edward O'Grady-trained stablemate Rigour Bob Back and Willie Mullins' Simenon and Midnight Game are not without their chances, but none have quite as much potential as the selection, which got its season under way with a commendable victory over Blackstairmountain at Cork.
The same partnership has obvious claims with Lord Of Lords in the maiden hurdle. However, preferred in that is Ned Buntline, which makes its hurdling bow for Noel Meade and Paul Carberry after a deeply impressive bumper win at Naas last month.