Rejuvenated Another Palm set to stay on upward curve
NOEL MEADE'S Another Palm is fancied to reaffirm his rejuvenation by claiming this evening's Gigginstown House Midlands National Handicap Chase at Kilbeggan for Davy Condon.
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary has three in the €50,000 highlight of the Co Westmeath venue's season, as he vies for a first win in the race that he sponsors at his local venue.
Davy Russell has opted for top-weight Mr Cracker, but Willie Mullins' Toostrong might be of more interest under Barry Geraghty as he steps up in trip on fast ground.
Mullins' Sin Palo and Meade's recent JP McManus-owned course and distance winner Tom Horn are others in the competitive 14-runner line up that demand respect.
Still, Another Palm appeals as nap material, after he won for the first time in two years when staying on dourly from the last fence at Limerick two weeks ago.
Having been placed in a Cork National, the two-and-three-quarter-mile trip at Limerick was on the short side for the blinkered grey, but he really knuckled down to overcome a modest position in third as they crossed the last. It was also the first time that he ever encountered going with the word firm in the description, so with stamina proven, the combination of an extended three-mile trip on a quick surface should be ideal now.
The in-form Meade-Condon axis can also take the two-mile maiden hurdle with Westhaven. This is a weak heat, and Westhaven has shown enough to be placed in eight of his 10 hurdle starts to suggest that he ought to be able to take advantage.
O'Leary's maroon and white silks could make the winner's enclosure courtesy of Stonemaster in the beginners' chase.
This is another contest that lacks much depth for all that it has attracted a full field, and Russell's mount has an established level of ability despite finishing second four times in five runs.
Maybe crucially, he drops in trip here to two and three quarter miles. In winning four hurdles and a point-to-point, the Dessie Hughes-trained son of Old Vic has never scored beyond two-and-a-half miles, so this is a fine opportunity for him to collect.
Andy Oliver's Jabus, such a facile winner at Downpatrick last weekend, gets the nod to follow up in the three-mile handicap hurdle. Mark Enright's mount is 11lb higher now, but could be suited by the step up in trip to three miles.