Cooper can make return to Gigginstown silks a winning one
Bryan Cooper is riding again for former boss Gigginstown and Henry de Bromhead, for whom he is hoping to pick up more mounts as the winter eases in, at Clonmel today.
The Tralee native has two mounts today, one aboard Arvico Bleu in the Kimore Maiden Hurdle, and this one can probably do the business. Michael O'Leary's French-bred has found a nice opening here, with no real concern about his fitness despite a 224-day absence. If punters may take note of Cooper's select book, they will be drawn to Willie Mullins sending just one runner to the track. That is Itsonlyrocknroll, which has another chance in the finale.
However, this one might be vulnerable and preference is for the Edward O'Grady-trained Allardyce.
A consistent sort which travels nicely, he deserves a change of fortune now under Barry O'Neill, who was champion rider in 'points' last term.
The opening maiden hurdle can see one of Mullins' lieutenants, Paul Townend, score for the neighbouring barn of John 'Shark' Hanlon. The nicer ground should play to the strengths of Motcomb Street, which seems gradually progressive.
No doubt Our Rachael will be popular for Tony Martin in the novices' handicap hurdle, as this filly has been in great form on the Flat and gets in lightly off 89. However, it might be worth opposing the likely favourite with Sillogue Pio, not only a course winner but a promising fourth in a decent race at Down Royal. George Kingston's steed is lightly raced for his age.
Ruby Walsh has been key to the improvement of Small World, which is going the right way for Peter Fahey. Narrowly denied last time by Blixit, he can score again in the staying handicap hurdle, what looks a fair race for the bracket. This is one of three booked mounts for the reigning champion.
Top weight might not stop the smooth-travelling top weight Magnetic Force in the handicap chase but he must give 11lb to Tb Broke Her and that may be too much. The trip may be a bit sharp for Arthur Moore's filly but she is quite versatile in that regard.
Today's feature is a tricky €20,000 EBF Captain Christy Rated Novice Steeplechase. De Bromhead and Giggintown may double up here with Burndown but he could not be a confident choice.