Killarney honours Culloty, but 'Bailey' looks a banker
Killarney kicks off its three-day festival tomorrow with a decent jumps spread that will also incorporate a civic reception for Jim Culloty, the Gold Cup-winning trainer, who continues to enhance his status as the town's most illustrious racing personality.
Now based in Churchtown, Co Cork, Culloty is set to make a guest appearance along with each of his four Gold Cups, three of which he won aboard Best Mate prior to causing a huge upset in the Prestbury Park showpiece with the Davy Russell-ridden Lord Windermere.
Russell will join him on stage, but it is Kerry's distinguished son who is being honoured.
"It is a very nice gesture by the management of Killarney Racecourse and Killarney Town Council to invite me there on Sunday," Culloty said of the accolade.
"Obviously, winning the Gold Cup at Cheltenham with Lord Windermere promotes a bit of interest about the place which is good. I am from Killarney, so I am only too happy to support the track and it will be a nice occasion for my family and friends."
On the track, the €15,500 Malton Chase is the feature event. A field of five will go to post for the two-and-a-half-miler, but just two matter on official figures, with Foildubh and Baily Green both boasting snippets of Grade One form.
A staying-on fifth to Boston Bob in the Punchestown Gold Cup, John Ryan's Foildubh has 2lb in hand on ratings, but he must concede all of 7lb to Mouse Morris' charge.
Second to Bog Warrior over this trip at Navan when he failed to make the most of a soft lead, Baily Green then stayed on honestly when fourth to Sizing Europe at Punchestown.
That confirmed his reputation as a nearly horse, but the return to this trip on ground that is being given as yielding should prove ideal.
While David Casey's mount has been frustrating, with conditions in his favour here, he warrants the nap vote.
The opening Michael Doyle Memorial Maiden Hurdle sees the similarly enigmatic Indian Icon bid to break its duck over flights at the seventh time of asking.
It is probably the most clear-cut chance that Dessie Hughes' charge has had, but preference is for Mckinley, a smart Curragh maiden winner that debuts for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh now.
Robert Tyner and Philip Enright have a strong hand in the subsequent two hurdles with Sir Abbot and Way Up In The Air, which blundered away its chance early on at Punchestown.
The JP McManus-owned Sir Abbot ran out a smooth winner of a Ballinrobe last month, so he stands out as the most interesting prospect in an otherwise middling maiden hurdle.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Walsh was on the mark at Cork last night when he parntered Pink Hat to her first victory over hurdles.
Despite being an easy-to-back 7/2 chance in the Carbon Group Rated Hurdle, the dual bumper winner seemed to appreciate the good ground conditions after being quickly sent into the lead by her rider.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare looked like she had a battle on her hands when headed by favourite Kandinski at the third last, but, she fought back to regain the lead and score convincingly.