Friday 23 February 2018

Condon can rule again with Honourable Emperor

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

DAVY CONDON can continue his irrepressible recent form by landing tonight's Kilbeggan nap on the Noel Meade-trained Honourable Emperor.

A fantastic riding talent who excels when opportunities come his way on the big day, Condon has had a beano start to the new campaign.

His exquisite four-timer at Down Royal on Friday saw him share the lead in the jockeys' table with Ruby Walsh on 13 going into Gowran Park yesterday, and he has a cracking book of seven rides here.

Honourable Emperor appeals as the best value option in the Easyfix Rubber Products Maiden Hurdle, having missed the last flight as he ran out of puff on his first start since February at Tipperary two weeks ago.

He eventually held on for second behind Green Dragon, and it was a much-improved turn that suggested fast ground suits well.

On the assumption that Honourable Mention will strip a little fitter this time, then he is fancied to win.

Great Jones, Walsh's mount for Willie Mullins, is an obvious danger, likewise Charles Byrnes' Courage, which has finished second four times in a row.

He has a chance again under Rob Jones, but is hardly progressive.

Philip Rothwell's Faanan Aldaar, a head conqueror of Courage at Roscommon, might follow up off a light weight under Andrew Ring in the Fay Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle, while Jones gets the nod aboard Jimmy Finn's Coldstonesober in the chase equivalent.

Walsh and Mullins could secure a double courtesy of Alelchi Inois in the T & V Novice Hurdle and beginners' chase-bound The Paparazzi Kid, with the Mark Bolger-ridden Beachdale Lad preferred in the novice chase. Churchfield Champ, Datokepe, Lord Ben and Six Stone Ned are four other last-time-out winners on duty in this, with Toner D'Oudaires another that couldn't be discounted in an intriguing contest.

Successful on its fencing bow at Roscommon, Jessica Harrington's Beachdale Lad doesn't have the cleanest jumping style, but he slammed a fair yardstick in The Real Article by 14 lengths on that occasion.

While he may well have got his own way in front, he still has the scope to excel in this sort of race over the next couple of months.

Irish Independent

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