Dougal Philps can open Mullins' flat account
WILLIE MULLINS, whose 23 domestic jump winners already amount to three times more than his closest pursuer, can continue his dominance at Roscommon this evening.
The perennial champion has two contenders on the mixed programme,
and both are taken to score. Interestingly, Mullins has saddled just a single runner on the Flat in 2012, so Dougal Philps would be a first winner in that sphere this term should he confirm the promise of two previous Dundalk outings when he steps up in trip in the 10-furlong maiden.
In the first division of the beginners' chase, the Kilkenny native is on more familiar ground with Laganbank, and Ruby Walsh's mount is also expected to benefit for an extended journey. A staying-on second behind Baily Green on his fencing bow here over two miles three weeks ago, the dual bumper and hurdle winner will relish the extra five furlongs now.
John Carr's Benash, second to Prince Ludovic at Kilbeggan last month, is probably the horse to beat in the second division, but preferred is the Jessica Harrington-trained Bullock Harbour.
A prolific sort this time last year, Barry Connell's eight-year-old ran well for a long way when sixth on his first try at the larger obstacles at Limerick, so average improvement from that should see him give Benash plenty to think about under Robbie Power.
The €25,000 www.thetote.com Connaught National features last year's victor Campbonnais, while recent winners Devil's Elbow, Galant Ferns, Any Bets, Droim Toll and Jamsie Hall are just a few with live chances.
Jamsie Hall, representing Gordon Elliott and Davy Condon, was successful in a hack canter on his reappearance over hurdles at Tramore last time out.
If he comes on for that, he has the scope to have a big say in this on only his eighth fencing start.
Ted Walsh's Down Royal scorer Devil's Elbow lacks experience on his second chasing outing, but he may be the main danger off a low weight if he jumps clear.