Fahy primed to maintain winning run with Gunnery
Pat Fahy is in the midst of his best season for nearly 10 years and is tipped to add to his running tally with Mount Gunnery at Clonmel this afternoon.
With 11 winners on the board, the Co Carlow-based handler is operating at a 13pc strike-rate, which is as prolific as he has ever been in terms of wins to runs. The return of Morning Assembly has been a further boost for Fahy, and Mount Gunnery is also on the comeback trail, having been sidelined for 18 months.
The Kayf Tara eight-year-old won his maiden hurdle here shortly before he was sidelined, and there has been lots to like about his two recent turns.
On his fencing bow at Gowran Park last month, he ran a blinder to split Tell Us More and Young Finnegan, before again emerging with credit when third to Venitien De Mai at Down Royal a fortnight ago.
In the context of his opposition in today's beginners' chase, that is perfectly solid form. Granted, Mount Gunnery is dropping back in trip to two miles, but he has always travelled well in his races.
In the likely bottomless ground conditions, he certainly shouldn't be too inconvenienced, so he appeals as nap material under rising star David Mullins.
Gordon Elliott and Bryan Cooper could initiate proceedings at the Tipperary venue with a brace courtesy of Victory Mill and De Plotting Shed. Victory Mill is one of seven taking part in the opening conditions hurdle, and the likes of Urano, Cliffside Park, Nine Stitches and Dont Tell No One are all capable of having a big say.
However, Victory Mill is an unexposed and progressive type that is worth keeping on side. A point-to-point and maiden hurdle winner on his first two starts, the King's Theatre six-year-old lost little in defeat when second to Last Goodbye at Navan last time.
The winner is a fair horse and they drew well clear of the rest, so Victory Mill is trusted to confirm his promise here. De Plotting Shed, second to Gurteen on its hurdle debut the same day, ought to make light work of inferior rivals in the two-mile-three-furlong maiden hurdle.
In the shorter version, Railway Rule is worth a look for Harry Kelly. This is a moderate affair, and Paul O'Reilly's mount has ability, making the frame on five successive occasions in 2014, including when third here in deep ground.
He never threatened on his return from over a year off back at the Powerstown venue recently, but he ought to be sharper for the outing.
If so, then he could go close, as there isn't too much to recommend the others. Willie Mullins's Henry Howard has scope to improve after just one outing over further at Thurles, but he needs to step up considerably.