Local hero Russell can secure Cork feature on Martin's Edeymi
Reigning champion jockey Davy Russell can land the featured Dermot Casey Tree Care Hurdle aboard Edeymi at his local Cork venue in Mallow this evening.
The €20,000 two-and-a-half-mile conditions race has a history of decent winners in recent years, and most of the seven contenders here would continue that tradition.
However, it is Tony Martin's Gigginstown Stud-owned Edeymi that gets the nod to recapture its best.
Brought down at Cheltenham in March, the Barathea gelding previously finished a fair sixth to Tennis Cap at Leopardstown off a mark of 132 on his only other outing over hurdles this year.
A Clonmel maiden winner in 2012, he was second to Une Artiste in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham last year, but he has often struggled to fulfil that promise on testing ground.
On a quick surface here, Edeymi has the scope to get back on track against more exposed opposition. Russell's championship rival Ruby Walsh rides Sean Byrne's smart mare Oilily, but the main threat could come from Noel Meade's Muirhead and the in-form Davy Condon.
Fourth in the old Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown last time having finished sixth in the Irish Grand National, the 10-year-old once had a hurdle mark of 158, and his current rating of 138 is still the highest here. At his best, then, he and Condon would certainly be in a position to trouble the selection.
Russell (right) also has a big chance on his only other booked ride, the Eoin Griffin-trained long-standing maiden Drumfire in the three-mile maiden hurdle. Still, of the other 23 starters, Run For Firth is preferred, as he appeals as being one with considerable room to improve.
Kieran Purcell's six-year-old has already won three point-to-points, and kept on stoutly to be second in a two-and-a-half-mile bumper at Gowran Park last month. This step up in trip, then, should suit Robbie Moran's mount ideally on his hurdling bow.
In the shorter maiden, Griffin and Eddie O'Connell can collect with Fairview Star – second to Giant's Quest at the same Gowran fixture – while Love On Top is napped for the shrewd Doneraile handler John Joe Walsh in the second bumper.
Successful at Ballinrobe in May, the Westerner mare was a fine third to Ebazan on her return there over flights in June, form that was nicely franked by the runner-up Dawerann scoring at Roscommon on Tuesday.
On this afternoon's Dundalk spread, the reappearing Shamiran, second to Inis Meain in a valuable handicap at Galway last year, is fancied on its debut for Rodger Sweeney in the showpiece two-mile Boylesports.com Handicap.
Shes No Joke is another that ought to win. Representing Kildare's Mark Fahey – two winners from his first nine runners – the €1,000 purchase was just behind subsequent winners Belle De Crecy and Violet Hour when fourth on her Leopardstown bow.
Given that the winner Scintillula also went on to be second in Listed company, the Hibernia Steel Maiden should be within Conor Hoban's mount's range.