Carlingford Lough can step up to the Plate for McManus
A year after missing the cut when stoutly fancied for tomorrow's feature, Carlingford Lough needs just one to come out of today's www.thetote.com Galway Plate.
JP McManus' John Kiely-trained seven-year-old has been vying for the market lead for the prestigious handicap chase with Terminal since the ante-post book opened last week, and the presence of AP McCoy's name alongside his on the page suggests that connections are confident of him getting in. Indeed, with McManus now responsible for four of the 22 that are guaranteed a run after his purchase of Jacksonslady, it would hardly be a seismic shock were it to be one of his that happened to defect.
Tom Mullins' Bob Lingo, such a deserved winner of the €200,000 showpiece for McManus under Mark Walsh in 2012, shares top-weight this time. Mullins will also saddle his Ballybrit veteran Fosters Cross and the Punchestown scorer Klepht, while Lambro and Laganbank join Terminal from his brother Willie's elite stable.
See full racecards for this evening's meeting.
Ruby Walsh has opted for Terminal, while Dermot Weld vies for his fifth Plate with Majestic Concorde, the 2010 third that Jason Maguire flies in to partner.
Maguire's only ride, Majestic Concorde pulled up in this on his last start over fences in 2011, but couldn't be written off in a renewal that lacks real quality. Just a year after the 160-rated Follow The Plan took part, the top-weights come in at just 147.
Still, it's as competitive as ever, and two cross-channel raiders add intrigue. With none travelling last year, maybe the drop in standard has prompted Philip Hobbs and Dr Richard Newland to have a go with The Disengager and Bobowen respectively.
Besides, how good or bad an edition it is will matter little to the connections of the eventual victor. If any proof of that is required, consider the case of Liberty Counsel. On April 1, Dot Love's mare bagged a famous win in a poor Irish Grand National. Unsighted in four runs since, she tackles today's three-mile hurdle under Mark Walsh.
Only the most optimistic or loyal fan could make a case for her, but no one can take away her day in the sun at Fairyhouse. All that matters is her name is on the trophy.
This is a cracking heat. Blackmail learned a valuable lesson in settling en route to finishing second on the Flat at Bellewstown, and is potentially high-class.
Some Article has similar potential. A bumper winner last year before finishing fourth to Un Atout at Leopardstown in December, he ran out early when last seen in January.
Pumbaa, Minella Reception, Scienter, Enchanted Forest and Tisamystery all add further depth to proceedings, without possessing as much obvious class.
Blackmail's recent Flat outing should have left him spot on.
Six Stone Ned has been running well over fences. In contention when falling over flights at Wexford in April, he will go close again so long as the ground doesn't turn. Banana Flambe, Point The Toes, All Or Now, Courtncatcher, Define and Lady Of Glencoe have all been in good heart as well, with Lady Of Glencoe interesting on its handicap bow. King High won nicely at Sligo last time, but this will be tougher.
Six Stone Ned might still have more to give over hurdles.
Blackwell Synergy was flattered by his wide-margin win at Southwell in June. However, he is a fair operator on decent ground and has scope to improve again.
Charles Byrnes' Shanpallas had the re-opposing Roscommon winner Landero behind when scooting up at Down Royal in May. This step up to three miles may suit him.
Dooney Rock, Tugboat, Prosperity Square, Usuel Smurfer and Your Bury are others to consider. Killarney scorer Your Busy won here over fences two years ago.
Shanpallas can continue progressing under Davy Russell.
Ballydoyle's Army Ranger sports a visor now, having run in snatches when second in an ordinary Tipperary maiden. Dermot Weld has also put a visor on Alkali, which has so far shown a moderate level of ability in three runs.
Darwins Fox and Owega Star are interesting, likewise Union Dues. Willie Mullins' Cheltenham also-ran displayed a fine turn of foot to win its second bumper at Navan.
Union Dues could have the pace to figure prominently.
Carlingford Lough won here over flights in 2011 and 2012, latterly in fine style over this trip off 129. While he has yet to win in eight chasing starts, he was a game second at Killarney in May, is ground versatile and is fairly rated off 133 for 10st 7lb.
Majestic Concorde has plenty to prove at this stage, while Jacksonslady remains unexposed. Klepht, Terminal and Buckers Bridge also fall into that bracket, with Buckers Bridge one that appeals as being potentially well treated on his best form.
Terminal has a touch of class, though whether the hurly burly of this will suit is uncertain. Klepht will love it, and seven pounds for his latest triumph isn't harsh.
Last year's winner Bob Lingo has far more on his plate under top-weight, with Bobowen possibly the pick of the two raiders. He was impressive at Market Rasen last time and has the scope to do better still over fences.
Carlingford Lough to win if he gets in, with Buckers Bridge the alternative.
Gris Ladera won this last year. He should come on for a recent hurdle run and Connor King's claim means that he is in off the same effective mark as 2012.
The Alarm Clock is still a maiden, but he ran a solid race in second at Bellewstown last time. Daigreen and Moonbi Creek are others to consider, with Moonbi Creek likely to come on bundles for his tame Killarney reappearance.
Gris Ladera should run well again at a big price.
All four are recent winners, with Capitol Hill one of the more interesting back at this trip, as he didn't stay further at Wexford last week. Lucky Kitten also disappointed last time, but won nicely at Gowran Park previously and will be more dangerous here.
Lucky Kitten gets the nod to outpoint Capitol Hill.
Only Jayed Jidan can save this desperate affair. Dermot Weld's son of Teofilo has twice run well in defeat, his Curragh third to Dr Funkenstein the standout offering.
Jayed Jidan can win without coming out of second gear.