| 5.2°C Dublin

Realt Dubh primed to star for Carberry

Noel Meade has found Realt Dubh a decent opportunity to belatedly kick-start his campaign under Paul Carberry at Navan this afternoon.

A three-time Grade One winner as a novice last term, Realt Dubh was set an impossible task on his reappearance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. In the circumstances, the Beneficial eight-year-old ran creditably to finish fifth and will surely take all the beating now in today's Grade Two Webster Cup Chase.

A similar type to Watson Lake, Meade's 2006 winner of this €37,500 two-and-a-half-miler, Realt Dubh has a bit to find with some of his seven rivals at the weights, but he should be capable of doing so.

Of the remainder, Zaarito may be best placed to trouble the selection. Colm Murphy's once erratic jumper posted his most polished effort for a while when giving Seabass a real fright at Naas last month.

He gets 7lb from Realt Dubh here, which would give him a definite chance if he records another clear round for Robbie Power.

In thetote.com Novice Chase that follows, Slieveardagh is fancied to take advantage of the decent ground -- officially good and being watered -- for Edward O'Grady and Barry Geraghty.

Meade's returning Original Option is an intriguing contender in this, having won a chase and two hurdles when last seen in the autumn.


It is of note, however, that Carberry has instead opted for Perfect Smile, a decision that suggests Original Option may need the run. While Perfect Smile will also be happier on the prevailing going, the classy Slieveardagh is expected to succeed despite conceding weight all round.

A fine winner in similar conditions at Leopardstown earlier this month, he was simply out of his depth when well held in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham. If he is none the worse for that experience, this is a more straightforward assignment that he should be well up to exploiting.

In the only other chase on the card, the concluding two-mile handicap, Robert Tyner's Mirador Del Conde can have a big say under Philip Enright, while the Bill Harney-trained Flaming Pop is napped in the opening mares' maiden hurdle.

The likes of Galianna and Chasing Shadows are not without a chance in this, but Galianna has passed up a few opportunities already and Flaming Pop holds Chasing Shadows on recent form.

When they clashed at Fairyhouse a month ago, Flaming Pop gave Chasing Shadows 7lb and a four-and-a-quarter-length beating to be second behind Back In A Tic. This time they will meet on level terms, so Brian O'Connell's mount ought to confirm her superiority.

Beef To The Heels is the one to beat in the card's other maiden, but isn't the most resolute option. On its return from a winter lay-off, Law Rebel, a bumper winner at Killarney in August, might be the one to keep on-side for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power.

Irish Independent