Doyle hopes Mallowney can regain old sparkle
Tim Doyle believes Mallowney is over his problems as he bids for a second win in the Bar One Racing Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse today.
He went on to win a Grade Two after his victory in 2015, but has been lightly raced since due to serious injury. His comeback run over hurdles last month was not without promise, but Doyle just wants him to come home safely. "It's such a shame he's had his issues, but he's good and sound now," said Doyle. "It was a decent comeback over hurdles, we were very happy with it. Even at his best he was never in the same league over hurdles as he was over fences, he was probably a stone below his chase rating.
"He's just had the one problem, unfortunately it was a suspensory ligament and that means you've just got to give them all the time they need. We haven't had any issues since he came back into training. The one silver lining is that the handicapper has relented a little, so he can at least run in these races. At his age now we need to see where we are and where we go from here."
Willie Mullins runs three with the most high-profile, Acapella Bourgeois, dropping significantly in trip considering he won a Grade Two over three miles for Sandra Hughes last season "Acapella is quite a keen horse, but the main reason we've decided to go down this route is his jumping," said assistant trainer Patrick Mullins. "He's very slick and quick and we can let him roll along without interfering with him too much.
"It's Fairyhouse and heavy ground, so it's not like it's a real speed test and it will be interesting to see how he goes."
Polidam is a French import which beat Acapella Bourgeois in the Foxrock Handicap before being upped to three miles over Christmas behind Anibale Fly. Mullins also runs Townshend, last of five in the Drinmore when last seen.
"Polidam is the same in that he doesn't look like a natural two-miler, but again he's keen going and jumps very well, which is a big advantage in these big two-mile handicap," said Mullins. "We think Townshend is on a nice mark and he loves to jump. He has a nice weight on his back and one of these big handicaps is within his grasp if it all comes together on the day. It's a very valuable race and hopefully we have three live chances."
There are two Cheltenham winners running, Grand Annual hero Rock The World and Cause Of Causes, successful at the last three Festivals for Elliott. Both are owned by JP McManus, but Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride Don't Touch It for Jessica Harrington. Cause Of Causes is one of four for Elliott, two of which, Tell Us More and The Game Changer, are owned by Gigginstown House Stud. "They both look up against it, but if you're not in you can't win and we'll see what they can do," said Eddie O'Leary, Gigginstown racing manager.
Elliott also runs Doctor Phoenix, owned by the Nick Bradley Racing Club, whose National Hunt horses are managed by cricketer Will Smith.
"His race was over after a bad mistake last time, but De Benno was second who we'd beaten at Cork the time before, so you'd like to think we'd have been bang there," said Smith. "If I was to pick his ideal race conditions it would be a trip just in excess of two miles on soft ground, which is what he's got.
"This was one of the races he was bought for, but it does look stronger than in recent years. The Grand Annual was another we had in mind, but if he wins this he'll almost be handicapped out of it."
Sunday Indo Sport