Friday 15 December 2017

Nagle can plunder Cork National once more with Zardsky

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Raz De Maree will bid to add to his recent Munster National success in tomorrow's Paddy Power-sponsored Cork equivalent for the Dessie Hughes stable.

While he cannot be discounted off a 9lb higher mark under Bryan Cooper, the resultant 11st 3lb is plenty of weight to have to carry over three and a half miles. Bundle Of Fun, which represents Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh and gets in off 10st 2lb, is one of the 17 others that has more appeal.

However, at nine years of age and on his 21st chasing start, he doesn't have limitless scope either. Berties Dream is one that could show up well under a big weight for Henry de Bromhead and Andrew Lynch, while Tom Doyle deserts last year's winner The Bishop Looney for Jim Culloty's Total Submission.

The horse with most appeal, though, is The Bishop Looney's six-year-old TJ Nagle-trained stablemate Zardsky.

Zardsky comes here after just four starts over fences, having warmed up for this with a staying-on second to Selection Box at Galway on Monday.

Zardsky has now won and been second twice from his quartet of chasing runs so, knowing his shrewd local handler has already plundered this €32,500 prize twice already, he strikes as one to keep on side. With the excellent Adrian Heskin up, he demands the nap vote.

In the maiden hurdle, Michael Hourigan and Walsh can score with The Crafty Butcher, while Davy Russell can carry the Gigginstown colours to victory on Rule The World and Sea Of Thunder. Mouse Morris' Rule The World might just have too much class for Charles Byrnes' Our Vinnie in the Grade Three novice hurdle.

Byrnes' Sea Of Thunder faces Morris' Baily Green in the equivalent chase, after splitting some good horses when second to Sire Collonges at Cheltenham recently. With an 8lb pull, he might end Baily Green's run of six wins.

At Leopardstown, the Flat season comes to a subdued conclusion with Aidan and Joseph O'Brien, set to be the first father and son partnership to be crowned champion trainer and jockey since 1916, both at the Breeders' Cup.

In the November Handicap finale, dual bumper winner Double Double is fancied to bounce back to form for Charles O'Brien and Declan McDonogh, while McDonogh also has the seemingly plum mount on Dermot Weld's Unaccompanied earlier on the card.

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