Monday 23 April 2018

Prickly can thwart Erlkonig's repeat bid in Killarney feature

Prickly will have a big say under Andrew Lynch. Picture: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Prickly will have a big say under Andrew Lynch. Picture: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Erlkonig returns to the scene of his finest hour when he strives to retain the €15,375 win prize that he plundered a year ago in tonight's Killarney feature.

Tony Mullins's charge is three pounds higher than when landing the 2015 edition of Paddy Power Racing Post App-sponsored handicap hurdle, and would have a real chance if he were to bounce back to his best now.

Mullins's brother Willie reintroduces Westerner Lady in the same race. Successful in three of her last four starts in 2015, Ruby Walsh's mount was last seen thrashing Grecian Tiger and Prickly at Cork in October.

However, Prickly, which meets Westerner Lady on six-pound more favourable terms, appeals more. The Edward O'Grady-trained selection dropped back in trip after that turn over three miles, and continued to run well without winning.

This summer, he has switched to the Flat, dead-heating on his latest start over an extended trip at Limerick. That confirmed that he is both well and progressive, so he has lots of appeal here now that he steps back up to two miles and six furlongs.

On his handicap debut over flights, then, Prickly will have a big say under Andrew Lynch.

In the only other hurdle race on the card, Oathkeeper ought to justify likely short odds for Barry Geraghty. Joseph O'Brien's charge has impressed in winning two of its three bumpers, and he should be a class apart against modest opposition.

John Oxx's Sea Of Mystery gets the nod in the opening maiden, while his Aimhirgin Lass is just passed over in favour of Embiyra in the fillies' handicap. Mick Halford's representative ran well on her seasonal return at the Curragh and can build on that.

At Downpatrick, Carrig Cathal warrants the nap vote to confirm the big impression that he made on his hurdle bow at Ballinrobe.

Gordon Elliott's sizeable sort drops in trip for the novices' hurdle, but has the stride to cope with that under Jack Kennedy.

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