Our Ellie B to score at Listowel
BARRY GERAGHTY and Tom Cooper have a fantastic record together, and the partnership can plunder today's mares' maiden hurdle at Listowel with Our Ellie B.
Geraghty, whose wife Paula hails from nearby the riverside track, has done the steering on 50pc of Cooper's four Grade One winners, with an overall strike rate of 35pc for a level-stake profit of 20.27 points on the Tralee handler's horses in recent years. Our Ellie B has a serious chance of adding to those fine returns now.
Recent bumper winners Ballykeereen and Tooreen both warrant respect in the two-and-a-half-mile contest, but Our Ellie B's hurdling experience should stand to her.
Placed three times in six starts over flights, the daughter of Moscow Society's two best efforts came at this trip, and her recent Sligo second advertised her well-being. That start 12 days ago was Our Ellie B's first since March, so she should be at full tilt now ahead of this afternoon's opener.
The second leg of the two-day bank holiday fixture in Kerry features the return to action of reigning champion jockey Davy Russell, who has undergone routine surgery to address a recurring lung problem.
The Youghal native, whose chief championship rival Ruby Walsh is already in double figures, has chosen Mr Cracker above two other Gigginstown Stud contenders in the Kevin Broderick Memorial Chase.
However, Willie Mullins' Sicilian Secret is the one of interest here on his first start since finishing third at Gowran Park last autumn.
Having taken a few runs to get the hang of fences before winning at Kilbeggan previously, the Paul Townend-ridden 10-year-old was far more fluent by the time he finished up for the winter. He gets in here off just 10st 6lb on his return, and the suspicion is that he is well treated at that if fully wound up.
Andrew McNamara can go close on Pocketfullapennies in division one of the handicap hurdle, while the day's nap vote falls to Brian Who in the three-mile equivalent.
Eddie Cawley's six-year-old was a staying-on fourth to Beau Michael at Punchestown last time, so this step up in trip should suit ideally now.