Hurdling return to bring out the best in Oneeightofamile
The presence of the smart Oneeightofamile adds a touch of class to proceedings on this afternoon's all-jumps card at Cork.
John Kiely's six-year-old contests the two-and-a-quarter-mile conditions hurdle, having failed to land a blow in the amateur riders' race at Galway this day last week. However, as he showed when accounting for Powerstation and Won In The Dark here earlier last month, hurdling is where his future lies.
A decent but lightly raced novice, Oneeightofamile turned in an exceptional performance to score by 12 lengths on his handicap debut at the Punchestown Festival. He was then beaten into fourth on the Flat at The Curragh before recording that hard-earned victory over his two higher-rated rivals at the Mallow venue.
It's difficult to see any of today's four exposed rivals stopping him now under the useful seven-pound claimer David Splaine.
Oneeightofamile actually meets Won In The Dark on 5lb better terms today, so he should collect again.
The three-mile conditions event also has a one-sided look. For A Finish and Page One Two Nine both have fair form but, if the going remains good, Ninth Legion is the pick.
A 15-length winner of a Wexford maiden hurdle, Ninth Legion found only the classy Sicilian Secret too strong at Ballinrobe two weeks ago. Conor O'Dwyer's charge has to concede weight to all bar Page One Two Nine in this, but his class should prevail.
In the maiden hurdle, Rebel Fitz is fancied. The main danger here is Park Ranger, which has a standout piece of form following Carlingford Lough's win at Galway.
When the pair clashed at Roscommon previously, Park Ranger went down by less than a length to Carlingford Lough when conceding 8lbs.
That was a tremendous effort, but Rebel Fitz might still be a slightly better prospect.
A dual bumper winner, he finished fourth in a Grade Two on his jumping debut at Leopardstown in December.
On his only subsequent run, he was given plenty to do when flashing home late for second at Listowel, so he can make amends for that here.
There is also a mixed programme at Naas today. Royal Reveille, successful in breathtaking fashion at Galway on Wednesday, is the nap selection in the Slimzone Supporting Jack & Jill Hurdle.
If this were a handicap, Royal Reveille would be thrown in off his new rating of 121. A runaway winner of a maiden at Roscommon previously, he is the obvious choice in a nine-runner event that features its fair share of dead wood.
Maunsells Duke, another to triumph at Galway, is also taken to follow up in the apprentices' race, while Bangalore Diamond appeals in the six-furlong handicap.
Third over course and distance last time in what has since proved to be a hot contest, Ben Curtis' mount is having just its third handicap outing.