Gates Of Rome can get O'Leary one step closer to owners' title
Twice foiled by recent bad weather, the latest all-jumping fixture at Gowran Park is certain to go ahead this afternoon on ground that should ride almost perfectly for the vast majority of the runners.
The going will be yielding with the odd soft patch remaining and these conditions will hardly prevent Gates Of Rome from completing a hat-trick in the opening Mullinavat Novice Hurdle.
Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud is enjoying another rewarding campaign and the ever-expanding Westmeath outfit is poised to land the owners' title on Saturday week.
O'Leary's earnings this season are more than €150,000 ahead of perennial title-holder JP McManus and Gates Of Rome has chipped in with victories at Clonmel and over today's route.
Davy Russell's regular mount forgoes a Punchestown alternative next week to return to the Kilkenny venue today and should cope with Cadspeed and The Kings Sword.
Patrick Mullins, who takes over from the injured Ruby Walsh aboard Leopardstown maiden victor Cadspeed, is involved in a duel with Nina Carberry in a bid to retain his amateur crown.
While he may have to give best also with Glenlo Abbey to Russell's mount Playboy Luke in the Dungarvan Maiden Hurdle, Mullins could steal a march on Carberry in the bumper at his local track as they respectively partner newcomers Popcorn and Kid Curry for their principal stables.
Carlowsantana did this column a favour when defeating subsequent winners Keats Dream and Brosna Val at Limerick and an 8lb penalty might not anchor the seven-year-old in the Goresbridge Handicap Hurdle.