Crown Theatre should give old firm a Tramore encore
The old firm of Henry de Bromhead and Andrew Lynch can deliver tonight's nap vote with Crown Theatre at the trainer's local Tramore venue.
Based in Knockeen on the outskirts of Waterford city, De Bromhead has built up a fine rapport Jonathan Burke since Lynch was replaced as Alan and Ann Potts' first-choice rider. However, he and Lynch continue to combine to good effect, and Crown Theatre is the pick of their three alliances at the unique seaside track this evening.
The six-year-old contests the two-mile handicap hurdle, having won and been second on his two most recent starts over fences at Limerick. When he prevailed there earlier in the month, he did so off a mark of 120, so a rating of 109 makes him appealing now.
When Crown Theatre was last seen over flights, he ran out a decisive winner of a maiden at Downpatrick in the autumn, having been second here on his previous start. He has also won a beginners' chase in between, so he has been in cracking form.
Having been given a break during the winter, it will be surprising if he doesn't take all the beating under Lynch again now.
Gordon Elliott saddles one of the selection's main rivals in Seeyouallincoppers, and he is likely to be among the winners both here and at Down Royal.
Of his Tramore runners, Credulous and Spicy Fruity are fancied to book-end proceedings with successes.
Edward O'Grady's Ruby Walsh-ridden My Matador will be thereabouts in the opening maiden hurdle, but Credulous could take a bit of pegging back under Bryan Cooper.
After being sent on early at Kilbeggan last time, he was only passed by the superior Off The Mark. There was no shame in that, and he could steal a march on his rivals on decent ground around here.
The bumper isn't a great race, but Spicy Fruity has gone close in a point-to-point and a Kilbeggan bumper recently. If she improves a little, she can score for Nina Carberry.
Lynch might also collect in the preceding two-mile-six-furlong handicap chase aboard Redclue for Co Meath-based Gillian O'Callaghan, whose husband Barry was Elliott's former landlord at Capranny.
This is a pretty open affair, but Redclue is quite progressive. In just two hurdle outings for O'Callaghan, he has won by 20 lengths over an extended two-and-a-half miles at Downpatrick and been second to Key Account over slightly shorter at Clonmel off a mark of 91.
He switches back to fences now off a rating of 73 for 10st 3lb, which looks pretty favourable.
In the north, Elliott and talented claimer Jack Kennedy could triumph with both Mustadrik and Eshtiaal, which has its six-pound penalty for a facile Ballinrobe win on Monday cancelled out by the former pony racing star's invaluable seven-pound allowance.