Flood gives Peace a chance at Clonmel
Fran Flood, who assumed the licence to train after his father Francis died last year, struck with his first winner when Peace N' Milan beat what appeared a well-treated horse at Fairyhouse on Saturday.
There looked to be no luck involved and Flood, conscious that the horse is well-treated under a 6lb penalty, targets today's mares' handicap hurdle at Clonmel. That she can run in quick succession in handicaps restricted to her sex is somewhat anomalous and she looks good enough to follow up under 7lb claimer Ricky Doyle.
Flood has a small team for the year ahead at his Grangecon stables but is a canny trainer and will appreciate what Peace N' Milan is doing for him as a fledgling trainer.
Sharps Choice is no star but he nearly rallied to win at Thurles last time. However, he remains vulnerable in maiden company and it might be prudent to persevere with Without Limites, for all that he was bitterly disappointing at Limerick at Christmas when last seen. His bumper form was promising.
Monbeg Chit Chat can take the second maiden hurdle. A chaser in the making, he lacks a change of pace, but - unless the Charles Byrnes-trained Give Battle is hammered in the betting - it is difficult to envisage defeat now.
The staying handicap hurdle has a favourable each-way make-up, with 18 runners. JP McManus' Itsallhappening has been making hard work of hurdling so far for Noel Meade but he may be worth one more chance and he is lightly raced.
The novice chase is an ordinary one, though it is restricted to those rated 123 or less.
Double Island is narrowly preferred to Double Scores, with the Henry de Bromhead barn in sensational form.
Crest's rider Jack Kennedy will have the distinction of riding in both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival at the age of 17. His progress has been nearly incredible and Crest is a hopeful pick for the Dingle rider in the handicap chase.
Like Without Limites, he has to put a moderate Limerick effort behind him. Oscar Lantern could be a danger.
Joseph O'Brien showcased his Cheltenham team at his Piltown stables yesterday.
It will not include Early Doors, an impressive winner of a Punchestown bumper recently.
Another jumper set for combat on the level is Gigginstown's Alighting, which may take the mares' bumper. The daughter of Kayf Tara is of immediate interest on pedigree, since her half-brother is none other than Don Poli, likely the mount of Kennedy in the Gold Cup.