Wednesday 16 January 2019

Mullins can lead rivals a 'Meri' dance as 'Lion' looks set to roar

Mark Walsh. Photo: INPHO
Mark Walsh. Photo: INPHO
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Alletrix lived up to her name when taking a valuable handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival and Jessica Harrington is looking forward to pitching the mare into Listed class at Punchestown today.

An above-average card for a midweek meeting sees the five-year-old make a bold bid despite race conditions not being in her favour in the Quevega Mares Hurdle.

Alletrix had Willie Mullins' Meri Devie well behind at Leopardstown - that rival has a 21lb pull at the weights today - and after chasing the Cheltenham Mares' Novices' Hurdle favourite Laurina home in a Fairyhouse Grade Three on her previous run, Harrington is keen to strike while the iron is hot.

"She's probably a little bit wrong at the ratings but she might as well have a go at it. She won't have too many more runs this year, she's been in great form of late and is in very good form at home," she said.

"She ran really well when she was massively wrong at the weights at Fairyhouse. With mares, when they are in form like she is, you may as well keep them going until they tell you otherwise."

Last year's high-class renewal saw Mullins' Limini fend off Apple's Jade and the Closutton handler should make it back-to-back successes as MERI DEVIE has everything in her favour to reverse placings with the in-form Alletrix.

Elsewhere, owner Philip Reynolds is eyeing a third successive Pertemps Handicap Hurdle win at Cheltenham next month with EAGLE LION hoping to book to his place at the Cotswolds in the Pertemps Qualifier (4.45) over 3m.

Davy Russell's mount won't have it all his own way in a competitive 13-runner contest, however, with Ellmarie Holden's Call The Taxie and Dermot Anthony McLoughlin's Dromore Lad obvious dangers.

struggle Racegoers may be baffled by the name Ilsnepasserontpas - 'they shall not pass' in French - which tackles the mares' maiden hurdle (4.10) for trainer Philip Rothwell with Thomas Mullins' aptly-named More Information also in the field but both could struggle against the Paul Nolan-trained CASTAFIORE PARK.

Meanwhile, Chris's Dream (4/1) put himself in line for a trip to next month's Cheltenham Festival as the novice hurdler galloped his rivals into submission to secure Grade Three honours at Clonmel yesterday.

Scoring by a remarkable 64 lengths under Mark Walsh(above), Henry de Bromhead's six-year-old has been cut to as low as 12/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, which is now his target.

"He's in the Albert Bartlett and is entitled to go after that performance and obviously he stays well," said the trainer. "He is a nice, light-moving horse and I think we'll give it a go."

Irish Independent

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