Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Earls Quarter can get ball rolling for Mullins at Galway

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Willie Mullins saddles five horses over the first two legs of Galway's three-day August spread, and the champion trainer ought to go close with each one.

Today he relies on Earls Quarter, Laganbank, Scotsirish and Robin Angevin. Of that quartet, Earls Quarter looks the most vulnerable in the Easyfix Products Hurdle.

Dermot Weld's Festival victor Natural High, as well as Michael Winters' impressive Cork scorer Rebel Fitz, are both likely to pose serious threats. In particular, Rebel Fitz is respected, given the sheer authority of this dual bumper winner's display last time.

However, Earls Quarter's success was no less facile on its hurdling debut at Sligo. That was a fair performance from a first-timer, so you couldn't confidently oppose him now.

Laganbank is the day's nap in the ensuing maiden hurdle. Paul Townend again takes the reins in this 20-runner heat, with Dowd's Angle and Dingaling the main dangers. Both of those have reasonable placed form, but don't have the same potential as Laganbank.

Twice successful in Killarney bumpers, including on his latest start in July, this big, chasing type was just done for toe when beaten by Sublime Talent on his initial hurdling start over two miles at Ballinrobe in May.

Laganbank goes back jumping now over two furlongs further and that should see him home. In the Colm Quinn BMW Chase, Scotsirish is absolutely thrown in at the weights, while Robin Angevin should have little trouble atoning for his narrow defeat here during the Festival in the Jamie Kyne Memorial Bumper.

Mullins could also be to the fore in the Deacy Gilligan Novice Chase. Mags Mullins' Down In Neworleans comes here in a rich vein of form after maintaining his unbeaten record over fences at the Festival. Nonetheless, Dr Whizz, representing Willie's brother Tom, can take advantage of a three-pound concession from that one.

Dr Whizz's brother Baby Whizz could also collect in the handicap hurdle at the western venue tomorrow, though Worldly Wise is the pick of tomorrow's options in the opening maiden.

There are a few useful bumper winners among the opposition here, but Pat Flynn's eight-year-old, successful six times on the Flat, should be hard to beat.

The most interesting runner on tomorrow's programme is Oneeightofamile. Now unbeaten in three, John Kiely's gelding may need to improve to maintain his purple patch in the two-and-a-half-mile hurdle, but he has the scope to do so.

Irish Independent

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