Sunday 19 November 2017

Mullins on course for double Sligo dividend

Damien McElroy

Champion trainer Willie Mullins, who isn't represented at Kilbeggan this evening, targets the main races at Sligo tomorrow and could reap a 100pc dividend courtesy of Flat Out and Deutschland.

While Punchestown Grade One runner-up Flat Out stands head and shoulders above the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Hurdle opposition, Deutschland faces a tougher task in the more competitive Belfry Hurdle.

Top weight for this less valuable of the feature events at the north-west venue is John Kiely's 140-rated Head Of The Posse, which only lost out to Deutschland's stable companion Cousin Vinny at Fairyhouse.

But this JP McManus-owned gelding doesn't win very often and he could find the versatile Mullins candidate, which has a hurdles mark of 133, marginally superior in receipt of 10lb under Paul Townend.

Some ease in the ground was reported from Sligo at yesterday's declaration deadline and any significant rainfall in advance of tomorrow's session would be a help to the Head Of The Posse camp.

In contrast, this scenario would virtually guarantee victory for hotpot Flat Out earlier over two miles, as Emmet Mullins guided this French import to finish second to stable companion Blackstairmountain at Punchestown.

Having opened his jumping account in the soft at a previous Punchestown fixture, 143-rated Flat Out was fifth to Menorah in Cheltenham's Supreme Novices Hurdle and appears a horse worth following.

Mick The Tooth in the McManus colours is next best ratings-wise on 114, which indicates the gulf between them heading to Sligo, where useful flat handicapper Tin Town Boy could an interesting outsider.

Model County Lass followed up her successful point-to-point exploits when landing a bumper at Tramore recently and could oblige once more in the opening Smirnoff Maiden Hurdle for mares.

Tramore form may likewise hold the key to the outcome of this evening's Greville Arms Hotel Handicap Hurdle at Kilbeggan, from which no less than 70 entries were eliminated by ballot yesterday.

That's a situation which is far from satisfactory and particularly difficult to understand with the fixture's two 'chases already cancelled and the amended card now comprising just six races.

Ultimately the prize could go to Something Grand which was favourite at Tramore when runner-up to Rock County and could be compensated now over this longer trip for the 'Shark' Hanlon yard.

Irish Independent

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