Elliott to make most of ratings with Roi Du Mee
Despite the presence of the 2010 RSA Chase hero Bostons Angel, the featured John Meagher Memorial Chase at Thurles this afternoon is a pretty weak Listed race.
In such a poorly contested five-runner affair, Jessica Harrington's eight-year-old, recently such a pale shadow of the horse that won three Grade Ones on the spin as a novice, might well get the chance to shine once again.
However, Roi Du Mee has far more to offer on current form.
In readily securing back-to-back triumphs in last month's Grade Three at Punchestown under Paul Carberry, Gordon Elliott's Gigginstown Stud-owned seven-year-old at least showed that he is on good terms with himself.
Moreover, on official ratings, he emerges as the clear pick at today's weights, so he should give a good account here with regular rider Davy Russell back up.
"He's in good nick and it's a small field which suits him because he's not very big," said Elliott.
"He came out of the Punchestown race in very good form and this looks a nice race for him. But, we've got Jessica Harrington's Bostons Angel to beat."
Clancy Strand also appeals as being the standout option on figures in the following Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase. A field of 14 has been declared for this two-mile-two-furlong heat, but none have quite so much in hand as the nap selection.
Successful for a second time over flights off a mark of 95 at Naas in August, JP McManus' representative was then placed off 102 at Roscommon. Having seemingly not been at his best in four starts over fences last term, he gets in here off a lowly 85, while the useful Jody McGarvey takes a further four pounds off his back.
All told, with the less than testing ground conditions also in his favour, Niall Madden's seven-year-old ought to go very close.
In the opening beginners' chase, the Jim Culloty-trained Spring Heeled gets the nod under Tom Doyle.
Twice a winner over hurdles last term, the handsome son of Old Vic has always looked built to excel over the bigger obstacles.
Doyle might also have a big say in the mares' maiden hurdle on Dubh Go Leir, Kevin O'Donnell's mare having already been placed in each of her four bumper starts.