Mozoltov primed to confirm his potential
A paltry field of four does little to dispel the argument that Fairyhouse's Powers Gold Cup no longer warrants its Grade One status, but tomorrow's race does at least boast a touch of quality.
Too often in recent years the €90,000 feature has been won by horses that were far from elite performers, and tomorrow's quartet have just a solitary top-level win between them to date, namely Ballycasey's Dr PJ Moriarty triumph.
Willie Mullins' grey subsequently capitulated when the pressure came on in the RSA at Cheltenham, and it may be that the drop back to two-and-a-half miles here will prove key to Paul Townend's mount's efforts to get his head back in front.
The champion trainer's relentless bandwagon is also represented by Mozoltov, one of two that has been declared for the Gigginstown House Stud battalion along with Dessie Hughes' Bright New Dawn.
A free-running son of Presenting, Bright New Dawn has slowly begun to mature. He still has a bit to do in terms of convincing that he can deliver at this level, but the chances are that he will be better on this sounder surface. With Paul Carberry up, he is sure to have a big say.
Barry Geraghty takes the reins on Mick Winters' stable star Rebel Fitz, another smart operator that hasn't always looked a natural over the bigger obstacles.
The 2012 Galway Hurdle hero made a successful spring return over flights last time, and while conditions should also be exactly to his liking, it remains to be seen if he has the composure to cut it at this level over fences.
Mozoltov appeals as the likeliest win option under Davy Russell.
Twice a winner in bumpers and over flights, the Kayf Tara gelding's only defeat in four completed chasing starts came when he was an admirable third behind Trifolium in the Irish Arkle on what was just his second run over fences.
The eight-year-old subsequently hosed up at Naas before getting knocked over at the first fence in the JLT at Cheltenham, and he wasted no time making amends with a smooth triumph over Irish Thistle for Russell at Navan.
Mozoltov clearly has plenty of class and is seemingly ground and trip versatile, so he appeals as nap material to confirm his immense potential now.
The outgoing champion jockey also gets the nod to plunder the following Coolmore-sponsored novice chase on Tim Doyle's Mallowney.
This is a competitive little six-runner affair, with Noel Meade's Grand Annual runner-up Ned Buntline possibly the one on the sharpest upward curve.
Still, when the pair met at Naas in January, Mallowney took full advantage of a 6lb pull at the weights to defy the JP McManus horse.
They compete off levels now, but Russell's front-runner has the capacity to build up an early lead that could become hard to overhaul on this decent surface.
McManus may get among the winners with the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Coffee and Hughes' Off The Charts.
Those two contest massively competitive consecutive handicap hurdles that comprise a total of 44 runners, but they are progressive individuals with plenty in their favour under Mark Walsh.
Hughes could also go close in the maiden hurdle with the Mark Enright-ridden Emperor Of Exmoor.
While this is another wide-open contest with 25 contenders, Emperor Of Exmoor has shown the most consistent level of ability, for all that he was chinned by an outsider last time.
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