Ruby's pick looks one to follow in mares' race
At last, for what seems like the guts of a year, Irish jumpers encounter what can be deemed proper, testing ground.
With considerable rain in recent days, the emphasis will be on stamina at Fairyhouse today. The terrain would have been no issue for the horse named in the Grade Three Coolmore Soldier Of Fortune Mares Novice Hurdle.
Ruby Walsh had to ride either Asthuria or Pravalaguna. It may have been a "pick 'em" situation but it is difficult to fancy Ashturia now after he was jocked up on Pravalaguna, which scored nicely despite the odd mistake at Navan.
Asthuria fell behind Shattered Love when last seen at Thurles. The market expected her to win that day but there was little in it when she departed.
The rated chase is a classy contest. The strapping Sumos Novios, which belied a major market drift on his return, will plough through the ground. This would be a welcome winner for Jonathan Burke, riding for father Liam. Rogue Trader reappears after a lifeless Thyestes effort.
Willie Mullins and Ruby ought to snare the mares' maiden chase with Retour En France, which generally jumped fluently in a shock Sligo defeat when last seen.
The stable can also take the Listed Coolmore Champs Elysees European Breeders Fund Mares Flat Race with the promising Redhotfillypeppers. However, there are plenty of dangers, including the Gordon Elliott-trained Fayonagh.
Easy Down Royal winner Holeinthewall Bar bids to follow up for Elliott in the handicap chase but Paper Lantern is preferred, though Elliott should go close in the Coolmore Leading Light & Ocovango Maiden Hurdle with Chirico Vallis.
Nicole's Milan is fancied in the novice handicap hurdle, the booking of Davy Russell especially interesting: he rode the horse he beat into second last time.