Green can help Mullins start with a win
Emmet Mullins will join the training ranks adorned by his uncles and grandfather when he saddles St Stephens Green at Kilbeggan tonight.
A son of George, who operates an equine transport business from a base alongside his brother Willie's record-breaking yard in Co Carlow, the 25-year-old fledgling handler has recently dabbled with point-to-pointers.
A Cheltenham Festival-winning rider aboard the champion trainer's Sir Des Champs in 2011, Mullins hasn't ridden competitively since the turn of the year. Indeed, his last ride was on St Stephen's Day, so it would be apt if the horse named after the renowned Dublin city park that honours the same saint should give him his first track victory in his new vocation.
St Stephens Green made its bow for Mullins' uncle Willie and cousin Patrick in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at Punchestown, keeping on for seventh.
Tesseract, which finished third, has since come out won impressively at Tipperary, so the form looks as good as you would expect for that race. If St Stephens Green, now running in the colours of the Mee family, improves any bit for that outing, he should justify the nap vote in this evening's heat.
Gordon Elliott has a typically strong delegation on duty. Of his seven runners, Speed Demon, Seeyouallincoppers and Shadow Catcher are fancied to help him extend his early lead at the top of the championship.
As of now, Elliott has saddled more than twice as many winners and plundered twice as much prize money as the all-conquering title-holder. That sort of domination will be hard to maintain once the autumn arrives, but he will make hay while the sun shines.
Speed Demon is possibly the pick of his team here. Successful under Davy Condon - who has recently undergone surgery to secure the spinal injury that forced him into retirement following his fall from Portrait King in the Grand National - over three miles at Cork in April, the Beneficial gelding has since been disappointing over shorter.
However, he returns to three miles for the T & V Novices' Hurdle, and that will suit Bryan Cooper's mount.
Cooper isn't without a chance of thwarting Shadow Catcher in the novices' chase on stable-mate Akorakor.
On hurdle form, though, Shadow Catcher is the better horse, and he took full advantage of Is Love Alive's last-fence fall to prevail on his fencing bow at Limerick.
If he can build on that, he and Paul Carberry are the team to beat, while Carberry might find the solution to the frustrating Seeyouallincoppers in the handicap hurdle.