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Our Conor to continue progress for Hughes

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Having sluiced up at Ballybrit from the recent impressive Galway scorer Three Kingdoms, Willie Mullins' Fatcatinthehat is sure to be popular with punters.

Having sluiced up at Ballybrit from the recent impressive Galway scorer Three Kingdoms, Willie Mullins' Fatcatinthehat is sure to be popular with punters.

Having sluiced up at Ballybrit from the recent impressive Galway scorer Three Kingdoms, Willie Mullins' Fatcatinthehat is sure to be popular with punters.

Fatcatinthehat will bid to confirm the promise of a runaway Galway triumph when he tackles the featured Guinness Premier Handicap under Pat Smullen at Listowel this afternoon.

A field of 12 will go to post for the €40,000 nine-furlong contest, and you couldn't confidently discount any of the dozen.

Having sluiced up at Ballybrit from the recent impressive Galway scorer Three Kingdoms, Willie Mullins' Fatcatinthehat is sure to be popular with punters, but the fact that he drops back from 12 furlongs is a concern.

At the back end of last year, this sort of trip seemed a fraction short for him and he is now three pounds higher than when beaten most of three lengths off 89 at Leopardstown in November.

Dermot Weld's Truthwillsetufree and Tommy Stack's Parkers Mill are two others that boast winning form last time out, but it is Our Conor that appeals most for Dessie Hughes and three-pound claimer Sam James.

Twice a winner in soft ground since making its racecourse debut in May, this three-year-old has continued to progress, latterly denied just a nose by Diplomat at Galway.

That was a superb effort, and the form has since been franked by the winner following up off an eight-pound higher mark, while Loreto, fourth then, scored here on Tuesday.

In light of that evidence, Our Conor's four-pound hike is understandable and he is napped to vindicate the handicapper's reaction in conditions that are sure to suit.

Denis Hogan, who has Inis Meain in the main event and who will today undergo surgery after breaking bones in his hand in a schooling fall on Wednesday, gets the nod to take the subsequent Southampton Goodwill Chase with Kalellshan.

Paul Gilligan's Wellforth, seventh in the Kerry National, makes a quick reappearance in this five-runner affair, while Ruby Walsh rides Shakervilz on his switch back to fences for Mullins.

revelation

Kalellshan, though, has been a revelation on his last two starts, easily accounting for Sunday's runaway winner Torphichen at Killarney recently.

If he can reproduce that for Mark Walsh, he is going to take some stopping again now.

Mullins and his son Patrick are expected to get on the scoresheet with three-time hurdle winner Primroseandblue in the South West Bins Novices' Hurdle, with the Barry Geraghty-ridden What's Happening fancied in the maiden equivalent.

In what is a fairly weak contest, the Michael Hourigan-trained Kilbeggan bumper winner stands out. As a former point-to-point scorer, he looks best equipped to cope with the gruelling conditions at the Kerry venue.

Irish Independent