'Honey' the class act for red-hot Blackmore
It's the calm before the Christmas storm today as Thurles provides the last piece of action on these shores before a hectic festive period and there's plenty for punters to get their teeth stuck into at the Tipp track.
Christmas miracles don't get much bigger than the 200/1 victory of Killahara Castle which stunned almost everyone when taking the feature for local trainer John Burke 12 months ago.
Willie Mullins' True Self - a subsequent winner of a valuable Punchestown Festival handicap hurdle and dual Listed scorer on the level - was turned over that day and there's similar intrigue in this year's Listed Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle (2.0).
Only five go to post - it's strange to see such a prize up for grabs without a representative from Mullins or Gordon Elliott - and Honeysuckle is rightly a warm-order favourite for the crack team of Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore.
Having taken her sole point-to-point start in good style at Dromahane in April, the four-year-old was an impressive maiden hurdle winner on her racecourse debut at Fairyhouse last month.
The Sulamani filly steps back to two miles but that shouldn't inconvenience her and with Fairyhouse runner-up Moskovite hacking up at Navan on her next run, it's hard not to be sweet on Honeysuckle with Jessica Harrington's Rovetta next best.
Western Honour got the hang of things at the third time of asking over hurdles for Elliott at Clonmel earlier this month and it looks like the step up to 2m7f will suit in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Rated Novice Hurdle (3.10).
Mullins saddles Stay Humble, which will need to be slicker at his hurdles after disappointing in a similar event at Fairyhouse, in a tricky affair but Elliott and owners Cheveley Park can continue their profitable relationship.
Much of the form in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase (1.25) is uninspiring but Michael Hourigan's Fairymount Boy has been knocking on the door and this is a decent chance to notch his second chase win.
The Jimmy Neville Memorial Handicap Hurdle (2.35) is a bit of a lottery with more questions than answers but Liz Doyle's course winner One First Cut catches the eye under Sean Flanagan and has plenty of scope for improvement on her handicap debut.