Going good for Rathlin to strikeGold at Fairyhouse
Fairyhouse's Powers Gold Cup has thrown up a few sub-standard winners in recent years, but tomorrow's edition boasts two genuinely exciting prospects.
While seven horses are set to line out in the €90,000 Grade One, it is Flemenstar and Rathlin that promise something out of the ordinary. The two classy seven-year-olds have won seven consecutive races between them, though Flemenstar's profile is the more advanced.
Trained in Tubbertown by Peter Casey, the son of Flemensfirth has long had tomorrow's two-and-a-half-miler as his big-race target.
Successful in his last four, he followed his Leopardstown demolition of a poor Arkle line-up by posting a commanding triumph over last Sunday's Limerick winner Frisco Depot when stepped up to this trip at Naas.
Having done most of his racing on soft or heavy going, the one concern is whether Flemenstar can be as effective on the sort of decent ground that he is likely to encounter tomorrow.
Still, Casey satisfied himself with the underfoot conditions at the Meath track before confirming that Andrew Lynch's mount would run, and it may not be an issue at all.
Rathlin has also done his recent winning on testing ground, but he produced one his most eye-catching performances when sixth on a quicker surface behind the likes of Al Ferof and Sprinter Sacre in the 2011 Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
A powerful traveller and jumper that has come into his own since January, he dispensed with the Grade One-winning Shot From The Hip to score at his ease at Naas last time.
Rathlin will need to up his game another level tomorrow, but it's hard to imagine Flemenstar being able to dominate him on goodish ground in the manner that he has pulverised others in the mud.
With that in mind, given that Mouse Morris' charge could be backed at up to 4/1 last evening, Rathlin might deliver Gigginstown Stud and Davy Russell another big prize.
Of the rest, Ruby Walsh has opted for Willie Mullins' RSA Chase third Call The Police over Bishopsfurze, while False Economy, Gift Of Dgab and White Star Line complete the field.
All five are quite useful in their own right, but it will be a surprise if they are up to this.
Earlier, Russell, champion jockey- elect after moving 18 clear of Walsh on Thursday, partners Savello in the Coolmore NH Sires Novice Hurdle.
In an otherwise competitive Grade Two, however, Lyreen Legend and Lord Windermere are hard to avoid.
Three times a winner from four completed starts on the back of a fine triumph under Tom Doyle at Naas, the Jim Culloty-trained Lord Windermere looks a chaser in the making more than anything else.
Nonetheless, he has steadily improved over flights, and this first stab at two and a half miles might just help him to out-point Dessie Hughes' Lyreen Legend.
The day's nap vote goes to Noel Meade's JP McManus-owned Tom Horn in the valuable three-mile handicap hurdle.
After completing an impressive hat-trick at Bellewstown in July, Tom Horn enjoyed a long break before posting a smart display to be third on unsuitably soft ground on his reappearance behind My Murphy in a novice hurdle at Naas.
With that under his belt, he could take plenty stopping on better ground here.
In the Grade Two mares' hurdle, Oscars Business, a smart bumper and maiden hurdle scorer earlier in the campaign, could have a big say for Robert Tyner and Philip Enright.
Ceol Rua and Carrig Millie are others to consider, but the three-time point-to-point winner Oscars Business may benefit more than most for this step up to two and a half miles.