Bulbul set for starring role at Naas
After falling to the elements for a second time in a week yesterday, Fairyhouse's Brownstown Stakes gets a third chance on Naas' otherwise routine card this evening.
Despite a suggestion that the entire Fairyhouse programme might be rescheduled on the all-weather at Dundalk if conditions at the waterlogged Co Meath venue failed to improve sufficiently, instead it is just the €77,500 Group Three that has been salvaged by being shoehorned into the Naas schedule.
The net result is a weak renewal comprised of five runners, half the size of the average field for the seven-furlong contest over the past three years. While none of the quintet look remotely capable of following in the footsteps of last year's heroine Emulous, which went on to win a Group One, Bulbul is fancied to take advantage of the situation for Kevin Prendergast.
Ballydoyle's consistent After is the highest-rated on show, but a winless streak of eight might not conclude on this unsuitably heavy going. A similar concern applies to Ken Condon's progressive four-year-old Marvada, so this could be a fine opportunity for Bulbul to step up.
A soft-ground maiden scorer here in the autumn, she was second in a Curragh Group Three over this trip on heavy ground in May, before posting a fair effort over six furlongs on better going behind Tiddliwinks in the Greenlands.
If Bulbul can build on that again now, she ought to go very close under Declan McDonogh.
In the Site Serve Supporting Enable Ireland Handicap that follows, George Kent's in-form Custom Cut could complete a deserved hat-trick. Ger Lyons' Greek Canyon and Ger Keane's Captain Cullen are two, in particular, that appeal as potential spoilers in the six-runner heat, but it's unlikely that anything will be quite so at ease on the prevailing ground as Custom Cut.
While the three-year-old top-weight has to defy an 11lb hike, Ronan Whelan's 5lb claim helps to negate that situation.
Joseph O'Brien, who could take each of the opening juvenile maidens on Parliament Square and Where, might also go close in the six-furlong handicap on Missile Command for Leighlinbridge trainer Jane Foley, who enjoyed her first winner at Limerick last Sunday.
On the Wexford card that was transferred from Friday, Spring Hawk looks the pick in the opening mares' maiden hurdle.
Just denied at Limerick back in May, Tom McCourt's six-year-old has showed up well in each of her four hurdling starts, and this is not a great race.
In the Audrey McGrath Memorial Chase, Mouse Morris' front-running Baily Green could have too many gears for Willie Mullins' Punchestown winner Raptor. Mullins, though, might gain quick compensation with the returning Gagewell Flyer in the beginners' chase.