Dream to maintain Thornton's fine run
Up-and-coming Skerries handler Karl Thornton is trusted to deliver today's nap selection when he saddles Colms Dream at Clonmel.
The fourth anniversary of Thornton's first track runners won't be until December, but he is making a decent impact with limited resources. Three wins for a 13pc strike-rate last term constituted his best domestic return yet, with a further 29pc cross-channel ratio yielding four wins.
That is a fine record, and Thornton only needs one more win to equal last year's home tally, with two seconds and two thirds further complementing his 15pc strike-rate.
Colms Dream was his most recent winner at Roscommon on Monday. Twice a winner over flights, including at this Tipperary venue, the Beneficial gelding was having just his sixth run over fences when stretching nearly 10 lengths clear with tremendous ease under Donagh Meyler on Monday.
Having been placed in three of his four previous completed starts over fences, Colms Dream wasn't winning out of turn, and the suspicion is that there is more to come from him in this sphere.
With just a six-pound penalty here, then, he is fancied to enhance Thornton's fine ratio. Andrew Lynch has a cracking book of rides this afternoon. He could take the opening maiden hurdle with the hitherto frustrating Pershing, Robbie Hennessy's four-year-old possibly set to be invigorated by first-time blinkers.
Later on, he is also expected to have a big say aboard Bellgrove in the three-mile novices' chase. There are only seven runners in this and it is quite open, with Gallant Tipp and Railway Zira among the more obvious contenders based on ratings.
Bellgrove is among three that share the lowest handicap mark of 114. However, Pat Cloke's Gold Well seven-year-old is expected to improve considerably for this step up in trip. A handicap hurdle winner off 115 last year, Bellgrove won a Down Royal beginners' chase over two-and-a-half in June. He hardly rose a gallop on his latest outing at Killarney, but that turn was too bad to be true in a race that few got into behind the runaway winner, Viconte Du Noyer.
This is an altogether less daunting assignment, so Bellgrove should prove a far more formidable rival, especially if he proves suited by the longer trip.
In the novices' handicap hurdle, Presenting Mahler is another of Lynch's mounts that should figure prominently. Preferred in that, though, is the John Joe Walsh-trained High In The Clouds. A decisive course and distance winner 28 days ago, High In The Clouds is having just his second start since Christmas, but all the evidence is that he has been progressing steadily.
If he continues in that vein, he should take a bit of stopping here off a mark of 111 for 11st 5lb. In the preceding maiden, Robert Tyner's Table Tips is worth keeping on side.
A daughter of Milan, Table Tips has been somewhat frustrating, making the frame in five of her 10 track starts.
The likes of the recent tidy course bumper winner Bowenscourt and earlier course bumper winner Supreme Vinnie are obvious dangers, but this is a time of year when Tyner's horses traditionally tend to excel.
With that in mind, this might be an opportunity that the Philip Enright-ridden mare can finally take.