'Duke' and Power set to reign at Thurles for in-form Harrington
Jessica Harrington is already well on her way to her best season since 2009, and she could add to her impressive running tally with Our Duke at Thurles today.
The in-form Co Kildare handler - who will be without her usual Flat rider this year after Fran Berry's decision to relocate to England - and Robbie Power have been enjoying a rare old time of things.
Harrington has bagged 39 winners to date for an impressive 21pc strike-rate, having not trained more than 35 winners for seven years, during which time her wins-runs percentage was never better than 15pc.
She is also without her stable star due to Jezki's absence, but she is certainly making up for that with a renewed efficiency on a consistent basis. Our Duke is one of five taking part in today's At The Races Michael Purcell Memorial Novices Hurdle.
The Oscar gelding is a long way from the finished article, but he might have the class to win the €45,000 Grade Two. A facile bumper winner from De Plotting Shed on his Punchestown debut in November, Our Duke was then second to Death Duty in a Navan Listed race.
On switching to hurdles at Leopardstown, he overcame some sticky jumping to win well from Pylonthepressure. Chances are that he will come on a bundle for the experience, which should give him a live chance here under Power.
Sandra Hughes's stable is vying for a fifth successive win in the race with the Ruby Walsh-ridden Acapella Bourgeois, while Aidan O'Brien and Barry Geraghty combine for Edwulf.
Bryan Cooper partners Willie Mullins' Nambour, with Davy Russell falling in for the Gigginstown spare on Eoin Griffin's Road To Respect. Every one of them has a chance of sorts, so it will be an informative affair.
Just four will go to post for the preceding €25,000 chase, only three of which look to have a chance on ratings.
Lord Scoundrel, Tennis Cap and Sizing Platinum are the contenders, with a slight preference for Sizing Platinum. Henry de Bromhead's charge hasn't been seen since finishing second to The Game Changer for a second time at Punchestown in October.
He had twice previously won impressively, and is a horse that could have a big spring prize in him on decent ground.
A dry surface won't be on offer here, but Sizing Platinum might still prevail under David Mullins, who stands in for Jonathan Burke.
Mullins and Walsh could collect with Uranna in the mares' chase and Union Dues in the maiden hurdle, while the day's nap vote falls to Freeway Space in the bumper. Second to Avellino at Fairyhouse, David O'Brien's charge looks a fair sort.