Progressive Ryansbrook to deliver for Wexford firm
Fresh from Empire Of Dirt's valuable triumph at Naas on Sunday, Colm Murphy is trusted to deliver this afternoon's Thurles nap with the recent course winner Ryansbrook.
The €16,000 handicap hurdle that Ryansbrook contests is a decent affair, with a 10-strong field including Toon River and Really Unique.
However, Mikey Fogarty's mount Ryansbrook is on an upward curve. Second to Desertmore Stream on his track bow last year, he took time to mature, failing to build on that promise during the summer.
On Ryansbrook's last two starts, though, the seven-year-old has really progressed, giving Golantilla a fright here in November before drawing 11 lengths clear of Vedettariat on his return in January.
That form received a boost when Vedettariat won nicely at Clonmel last week, so a first-time rating of 124 for Ryansbrook doesn't look punitive.
The card's feature event is the €40,000 Michael Purcell Memorial Novices' Hurdle. A reasonable field of six has been declared for the two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two, with Paul Nolan's Fine Theatre likely to have a big say under Fogarty following his Fairyhouse win. Willie Mullins and Gigginstown Stud have two apiece, and their Milsean is fancied to collect.
A high-class bumper horse, the Milan gelding beat the useful Snow Falcon on its hurdle bow over two miles at Navan in November. He stepped up to two miles and six furlongs here next time, and looked a winner all the way until his stablemate Measureofmydreams took advantage when he began to toil on the run to the last.
Milsean kept going, but it was hard to avoid the impression that he didn't fully stay, so this drop in trip ought to suit Bryan Cooper's mount.
In the conditions chase, just four will compete for a €25,000 purse. Rubi Light is best in on ratings, but preference is for the Cooper-ridden Arnaud.
Charles Byrnes' seven-year-old could do with the forecast testing ground drying a little, but his latest effort to be third behind Champagne Fever at Gowran Park was quite encouraging in the context of today's less precocious opposition.