Thursday 18 January 2018

O'Connell father-and-son team can land Mallow double

Champion trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Champion trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Summer jumpers are not lacking opportunities this evening, with both Cork and Downpatrick hosting National Hunt fixtures.

Eamonn O'Connell, an underrated trainer in Co Tipperary, can maximise this by saddling a double in Cork, with his Admiral Brian one of the main hopes in the feature €22,000 handicap hurdle.

The Brian Boru-bred has been knocking on the door of late and may prefer this trip than the three miles over which he was third last time. Coolmill making the pace in the race could help his chance, with that one looking totally out of form this year.

O'Connell and his son Eoin could be going into the race attempting a rare double, since Bluegrass Princess has a decent chance too in the novice hurdle, which is a nice race.

This Choisir-bred performed with credit under a penalty in a bumper at the Punchestown Festival and she has hurdling experience. For punters, this race has a favourable each-way make-up. Not surprisingly, both tracks were watered ahead of the racing tonight. Royal Hawk, which is not on paper guaranteed to relish conditions, is nevertheless put forward as he attempts to get champion trainer Willie Mullins off the mark in the Mallow opener.

In the staying maiden hurdle, Carrigmoorna Matt's proven stamina entices allegiance above Tamlough Boy for Waterford trainer Vinny Halley.

Gordon Elliott has been the dominant Downpatrick force in recent campaigns and he brings a septet of steeds to the venue this evening, though it is surely more notable that Mullins has just one: Torrent Des Mottes, which gets the nod in the concluding Carling Original Cider Flat Race.

The Ciaran Russell Auto Sales, Downpatrick Mares Handicap Hurdle of €15,000 is the feature at the Ulster venue. It might be worth chancing seasonal debutante Bell Of The Ball here, since it seems probable that Newry handler Liam Lennon will have her ready for action. Talented conditional Brien Kane takes 5lb off and she was thereabouts at this venue when last seen. The ground will suit.

Another one having her first start this year, Concience, won here in the past in a bumper and looks dangerously weighted now.

The Pat O'Hare Bookmakers - Follow Us On Facebook Handicap Hurdle is a reasonable race for a 0-95 and Dusty Sheehy can strike again with Grey Mountain Mist, which was brave in holding on at Ballinrobe on Monday. Chasing may suit Elliott's Presenting Julio more than hurdling.

Irish Independent

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