Tuesday 23 January 2018

King's class can help Condon to reign supreme at Clonmel

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Davy Condon, the prime beneficiary on Noel Meade's horses whenever Paul Carberry has been sidelined in recent years, can steer Knockgraffon King to victory in the most valuable race of the day at Clonmel.

Since Carberry broke his collarbone in a spill on the slopes in Austria two weeks ago, Condon has already enjoyed a Grade Two success for Meade on Medical Card at Naas. This afternoon's €17,225 Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle is of the Listed variety, and Knockgraffon King is potentially the smartest prospect on show.

Meade's only runner on the card, the Beneficial seven-year-old made all to score on his second start over flights at Navan just over two weeks ago. In truth, the Naas bumper winner looks a real chaser in the making, but his class can see him through on a tight track that might not play to his strengths.

My Murphy and Folsom Blue also bring winning form to the table in the eight-runner, two-mile-six-furlong heat. The last-named, representing Conor O'Dwyer and Davy Russell, has done little wrong to oblige on its two most recent hurdle outings.

Condon's fellow Cork native Russell gets the nod to land the nap on Is Herself About in the preceding Clonmel Festival Week Mares' Hurdle. Trained in Piltown by David O'Brien, Is Herself About landed her first two hurdling starts at Thurles, before running well when fourth behind Ceol Rua in Listed company at Fairyhouse.

If Noras Fancy, disappointing that day, returns to her best, she should give Is Herself About plenty of it, but the remaining three runners won't be up to scratch.

Willie Mullins, fresh from sealing his fastest century at Down Royal yesterday, has The Midnight Club and Cooldine in the Clonmel Chase. This conditions event is likewise poorly contested, as just five out-of-form horses try for a €10,530 prize.

With Ruby Walsh up, The Midnight Club, fourth to Apt Approach at Tramore last time, can exploit the opportunity. In the beginners' equivalent, Ballyburke, impressive over hurdles at Cork a month ago, appeals on his fencing bow for Philip Rothwell.

Irish Independent

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