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Gallant Tipp primed to claim Thurles honours for O'Grady


Jockey Mark Walsh

Jockey Mark Walsh

Jockey Mark Walsh

The Edward O'Grady-trained Gallant Tipp appeals as nap material in today's Boylesports Michael Purcell Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Thurles.

Given some of the intriguing entries that were made at the five-day stage for the €40,000 two-and-a-half-mile Grade Three, the final seven-strong line-up lacks a bit of star appeal and Gallant Tipp may be the smartest long-term prospect of the lot.

JP McManus' bumper winner made it two from two over flights with a decisive victory over Perfect Gentleman here in November, form that received a boost when the runner-up obliged in good style at Clonmel last week.


Gallant Tipp finished fifth of six to Sure Reef on his only subsequent outing in a Leopardstown Grade Two, but he wasn't beaten far having cut out much of his own running.

There is less quality among his rivals this afternoon, so he is trusted to prevail over a trip that is probably a little on the short side for him under Mark Walsh.

Band Of Blood, Horendus Hulabaloo and Urano are the pick of the rest, with Horendus Hulabaloo possibly the best of those after his second to Clondaw Court here last time out.

In the conditions chase over two and a quarter miles, Willie Mullins looks to have found a fine opportunity for Rupert Lamb to atone for his spill when tanking alongat the fourth-last fence here in a race won by Toner D'Oudairies at the beginning of January.

Ruby Walsh's mount paid the ultimate price for his clumsiness that day, but he is by far the best of the five in this if he keeps it together. If he doesn't, Competitive Edge can take full advantage.

The same all-conquering duo ought to have an easy time of things when the triple bumper winner Shesafoxylady tackles a desperately poor maiden hurdle, while Chiltern Hills should be thereabouts in the mares' beginners' chase.

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However, preferred in that is Robert Tyner's Way Up In The Air, which just failed to get up for Philip Enright on its Punchestown fencing bow in October.

Liz Doyle and Jane Mangan, first-rate amateur riders past and present, team up with last week's Clonmel winner Snowell in the lady riders' handicap hurdle. Given the convincing style of that triumph, the suspicion is that a 7lb penalty won't stop Snowell following up here.

Elsewhere, owner Barry Connell has confirmed Mount Benbulben will be supplemented for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

While Mount Benbulben has a clear preference for going right-handed, Connell is hoping that will be less of a problem over the smaller obstacles and plans to add him to the World Hurdle field next week at a cost of £13,750.

The Festival's competition within a competition, England v Ireland, will have an added edge this year when, for the first time, the Prestbury Cup will be presented to contributing trainers from the winning country.

For the first time last year, Ireland sent out more winners (14 from 27) than the home team.

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