Eight Till Late can stay on rise for Casey
Eight Till Late can make Peter Casey's journey west to Sligo from Dublin pay dividends by taking this evening's Martinstown Opportunity Maiden Hurdle in the hands of Jody McGarvey.
Much of the fare on offer is moderate, but there are three bumper winners among the 11 runners in this two-and-a-half-mile maiden, including Edward O'Grady's course victor Polish Partisan. He drops in trip after disappointing, so he could have a big say.
Noel Kelly's autumn Galway winner Back To Bracka is the other to have got its head in front, but Eight Till Late is preferred to both.
Strictly on form on a line through Chancol, which has beaten both Eight Till Late and Polish Partisan, Casey's charge has a little to find with O'Grady's runner.
However, Polish Partisan has had eight chances over flights already, and, while that experience may stand to him, Eight Till Late appeals as a more progressive option.
Fourth in his first two bumpers, he improved to win a modest event at Limerick last month, when he had to dig deep to get back up. He is clearly a horse going the right way, so he is fancied to make a winning hurdle debut for his popular handler.
The first of the three maiden hurdles is a pretty dire affair, with Brian Hamilton's Brian O'Connell-ridden Jimmy Two Times put forward as nap material to take full advantage.
At Gowran Park last time, on ground similarly soft to that which he will encounter here, the Shantou five-year-old kept on to be second behind Blow The Doors Off, two lengths ahead of the subsequent winner Wood Breizh. If he runs to that level again, he really ought to win this. Peter Fahey's nicely-bred mare Rathmuck Native should have a big say in the females' edition, while Kilcarry Bridge gets the nod under seven-pound claimer Ryan Treacy in the Ellen's Pub Maugherow Handicap Hurdle.
The top-weight, which hails from John Ryan's in-form Templemore base, won here in similar conditions in 2013, but has been unlucky in his subsequent chasing career.
He returns to flights after a couple of spills, and doesn't look badly treated on his handicap bow.