Sunday 18 March 2018

Last Time D'Albain can seal double for Ruby at Limerick

On a distinctly low-key spread at Limerick, Ruby Walsh is trusted to deliver the nap aboard Liam Cusack's Last Time D'albain.

Having reverted to the smaller obstacles for its two runs this term, the 133-rated chaser scored for a first time in nearly a year when taking advantage of a 36lb lower mark in a good race at Punchestown last month. With runner-up Followmeuptocarlow franking the form by following up at the same track next time, a 10lb hike might not be nearly enough to prevent the mud-loving Last Time D'Albain going in again now.

Granted, the handicap hurdle that he contests isn't the worst race on the card, as Julie Weston's hat-trick-seeking Vic Chic is also among the 10 runners. However, her wins have been achieved in inferior races, so Last Time D'Albain is the one to keep on side.

Walsh can also take the opening maiden hurdle on Willie Mullins' Sarabad. Despite a full field, this is a weak two-mile affair and Sarabad – generally disappointing since joining the champion trainer but a more encouraging second on its reappearance in the north – has been found a fine opportunity to gets its head in front.

Mullins should then take the subsequent maiden over three furlongs further with the Gigginstown Stud-owned, Davy Russell-ridden Tempo Du Camp.

Like last week's Mullins-trained Fairyhouse victor Twigline, this five-year-old hasn't run since landing a French bumper over two and a half years ago, but he has clearly been given all the time that he needed to develop ahead of what is a desperately weak first assignment.

The qualified riders' handicap hurdle race is one of the more competitive heats of the day. Of the 14 runners, however, Oliver McKiernan's Happy New Year is hard to ignore after an impressive triumph over three miles at Gowran Park last Saturday.

Previously second to Followmeuptocarlow at Punchestown, having filled the same spot behind Dedigout over fences, Roger Quinlan's mount may not be overly troubled by a 4lb penalty and can see off veteran Big Jemmy.

Irish Independent

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