Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 26 April 2018

Place your faith in The Bishop Looney

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Denied by his lesser fancied stablemate Faltering Fullback in the Kerry equivalent, Questions Answered will tomorrow bid for Munster National glory on a Limerick card not short of quality.

A full field of 16 is set to go to post for the €80,000 feature, with Questions Answered a clear 5/1 favourite to collect for local handler Eric McNamara. The unexposed seven-year-old, twice a winner here in three starts, is fully entitled to head the market off a six-pound higher rating.

Adrian Maguire's Golden Kite will take its chance under Paul Townend, having now dropped to the same mark that he won the race off two years ago. A ready victor on his reappearance over flights at Galway, he couldn't be written off with any confidence.

Of the three Gigginstown Stud representatives, Davy Russell has opted for Michael Hourigan's top-weight Mr Cracker, a course specialist that hasn't run since finishing third in the 2011 Powers Gold Cup. Russell prefers Mr Cracker to Mouse Morris' Four Commanders and Charlie Swan's Start Me Up, which is the mount of Nina Carberry after finishing a respectable third behind the McNamara duo in Kerry.

Noel Meade's Paddy Power hero Cross Appeal appeals, though not quite as much as The Bishop Looney. Having won last year's Cork National, TJ Nagle's eight-year-old has had a mixed time of things. However, he proved when falling three-out -- while in contention -- in the Thyestes Chase and finishing fourth at Punchestown in May, that he can be competitive off his current mark.

The Bishop Looney returns now a fresh horse and, with a proper test guaranteed in the prevailing soft ground, he could have a big say under Tom Doyle.

The Pricewaterhousecoopers Chase that follows is an absolute gem of a Grade Three, with Rathlin, Knockfierna, Rivage D'Or and False Economy all on duty. Again, it is of note that Russell swerves Morris' Rathlin, given that one's progression last term.

Knockfierna is a tentative selection to come out on top for Charles Byrnes and Barry Geraghty. Three times a course winner, the classy mare has won four of her five completed starts over fences and might well have beaten Sir Des Champs, ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, had she not run out here on the other.

Another mare, the Robert Tyner-trained Oscars Business, gets the nod in division one of the STL Logistics Beginners' Chase, though it is the second leg that will be most intriguing.

Teelin Star, a devastating pillar-to-post winner on both his point-to-point starts in March, makes his chasing debut for Pat Hughes and Barry Geraghty in this. While he flopped on his bumper debut at Fairyhouse in April, the athletic Beneficial six-year-old showed his true colours when making amends at Listowel last month. More of the same is expected now that he goes straight over the bigger obstacles.

On today's distinctly low-key jumps card at Fairyhouse, Nina Carberry is trusted to land the nap vote in the closing bumper that actually carries her own name aboard Meade's Ally Cascade which was an encouraging third on its debut at Tipperary.

Irish Independent

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