Prince Kup can lift Tipperary Perpetual Cup for O'Grady
Prince Kup is fancied to plunder the featured €16,500 Quirke UPVC Windows Tipperary Perpetual Cup at Clonmel this evening for local handler Edward O'Grady.
O'Grady signed off the jumps season with 10 winners, which constituted his lowest yield since 1991. However, he also unearthed his best horse for some time, with Kitten Rock shaping as though he could be a really serious novice chaser next term.
O'Grady hasn't forgotten how to do the job, and Prince Kup has the potential to improve on just its third start for the man whose tally of 18 Cheltenham Festival winners leaves him trailing only Willie Mullins, Tom Dreaper and Vincent O'Brien in terms of Irish handlers at the March showpiece.
Successful over most of two miles on the Flat at Longchamp last summer, the High Rock gelding was an honest second on its debut for O'Grady in a maiden hurdle at Cork last month.
He kept on at one pace that day, and he ran a similar race when subsequently filling the same spot behind the smart Katie T on his handicap bow on the Flat at Limerick.
Prince Kup was outclassed by Katie T, but he was only beaten a few lengths, as he kept finding for Fran Berry over the mile-and-three-furlong trip. Tonight, he steps up to an extended two miles, so he should take plenty beating off the same mark of 71 for a nice weight of 8st 7lb under Wayne Lordan.
Captainofthefleet, which won this off the same rating two years ago, tackles the race for a third time off a mark of 76, while top-weight Hisaabaat, Hazariban, Point The Toes and Face Value are others with chances in what is a suitably open-looking contest.
Berry is trusted to deliver the day's nap vote on Pat Flynn's Highly Toxic in the 10-furlong maiden for older horses.
Tetraites and The Panhandler are others with placed form in this, but Highly Toxic's previous outings are the pick of the racecourse evidence on offer. The son of Dalakhani ran well in Listed and Group company last year, and he again emerged with plenty credit when third in a Limerick Listed contest on his reappearance behind the 100-plus rated duo Answered and Waltzing Matilda, which has since been placed in Group company,
If Highly Toxic runs to a similar level for Berry now, he is the one to beat. In the two-mile handicap that brings proceedings to a close, Lady Marmelo has lots of appeal for Ross O'Sullivan and Gary Carroll. This is a bad race, but Lady Marmelo showed up well when staying on into fifth on her debut for O'Sullivan at Navan recently. While she has top-weight now, it would be no surprise to see her collect.
Dermot Weld's Pianola, fifth on its Gowran bow, stands out as a likely improver in the opening maiden.