Paddy to throw his weight about
Westmeath's champion owner Michael O'Leary and Dublin financier Barry Connell, who is also enjoying plenty of success with his runners this season, will be hopeful of securing Grade Two prizes at Navan tomorrow, courtesy of their Naas scorers Quito De La Roque and Shinrock Paddy.
Sports fans attending the Meath venue can rest assured that the Ireland-France rugby match in the Aviva Stadium will be televised throughout the enclosure as the course stages a trio of Grade Two events, including the Ten Up Novice Chase, which featured a dead-heat a year ago.
On that occasion, the camera was unable to separate Uimhiraceathair for the Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh partnership and Telenor, with the latter's trainer Jim Dreaper and rider Andrew Lynch combining for a second bite at the cherry this time with Naas casualty Royal De La Thinte.
The latter's gallant attempt to make all the running over the same three-mile trip at the Kildare track came unstuck when Lynch's mount failed to negotiate the final fence just as Davy Russell, in the O'Leary colours, arrived upsides with Quito De La Roque.
A similar scenario could be in the offing now, although that Colm Murphy-trained winner, which clearly revels in a proper stamina test, is obliged to concede 5lbs here to his five rivals, and The Hurl is bound to come into the reckoning as well, granted a clear round.
An hour earlier, the Ladbrokes.com Boyne Hurdle, which witnessed a popular success for O'Leary's now-retired War Of Attrition over favourite Mourad 12 months ago, sees last March's Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle scorer Berties Dream resuming after a two-month break.
Paul Gilligan's Cheltenham hero failed to adapt kindly to fences in the first half of the season and is on something of a retrieval mission this time, with a World Hurdle challenge in the Cotswolds next month being mooted if he comes up to expectations.
Berties Dream will have his mettle properly tested as Quito De La Roque's stable companion Voler La Vedette steps up in distance and down in grade, with Shinrock Paddy returning to the scene of last season's runaway novice hurdle win over a slightly shorter trip.
The highest-rated contender here off a mark of 153, Voler La Vedette is in receipt of 7lbs from Shinrock Paddy (150) and many will fancy this classy mare to get back in the winning vein particularly if she reproduces her Hatton's Grace Hurdle display of mid-December.
A close third to Hurricane Fly and Solwhit at Fairyhouse, Murphy's charge would be happier on less-demanding terrain and might struggle in the conditions to reel in Shinrock Paddy, which showed his relish for a battle at Naas last month in the Limestone Lad Hurdle.
The preceding Flyingbolt Novice Chase could be left to Torphichen in the anticipated absence of today's Leopardstown contenders Mikael D'Haguenet and Quel Esprit, as Edward O'Grady's English import was third to Realt Dubh and Noble Prince in a Grade One event there.
A ready winner over timber on this card a year ago, Lastoftheleaders, along with more recent course and distance victor Saludos, may pose bigger threats to Andrew McNamara's mount than Montan plus the O'Leary pair Uncle Tom Cobley and Sam Adams.