Russell can spur Klinnsman to victory
Eddie Harty is a dab hand with handicap hurdlers and he is trusted to deliver tonight's nap vote at Killarney with Klinnsman.
The McSweeney Arms Hotel National is the showpiece on the middle leg of the scenic Kerry venue's three-day meeting and it is suitably competitive.
Klinnsman contests the earlier Outlook Communications Handicap Hurdle for a modest winner's prize just shy of €8,000. It is an open 16-runner affair, with Paul Nolan's Highbrow Blue the only runner to have finished in the first three last time out in a Tramore novices' chase.
Luke Dempsey's consistent mount switches back to the smaller obstacles now, and he is sure to be thereabouts once again. However, Klinnsman appeals strongly as the horse to keep on side.
Twice placed in bumpers, the Germany six-year-old improved markedly for the switch to handicapping when a fast-finishing fourth off a first-time rating of 103 at Tipperary last month.
On decent ground, Klinnsman flashed home with real purpose, and would have probably got up in another couple of strides.
It was a massively encouraging turn that highlighted his potential, so he is fancied to build on it now off a two-pound higher mark under Davy Russell, although he probably wouldn't want the ground to deteriorate too much.
The former dual champion jockey has decent rides in the maiden hurdles aboard Theatrical Rock and Star Counsel, but others appeal more.
In the opening two-and-a-half-miler, Joseph O'Brien partners his father Aidan's newcomer Chamonix, the dual Listed-winning son of Galileo that was used as a pacemaker in Group One races and was rated 110 at his peak.
Chamonix could prove a formidable rival, but Henry de Bromhead's less precocious Exxaro is put forward as an alternative.
SA son of Presenting that is a half-brother to the smart Sizing Gold, Exxaro ran well to be placed in two bumpers on nice ground at Listowel and Thurles last autumn.
On his subsequent hurdle bow at the north Tipperary track in November, he failed to make any real impact in fifth, but that experience will stand to him now.
If Exxaro strips fit after his break, he could have a big say under Jonathan Burke. Again, though, he is the sort that could do without too much more rain.
In the MD O'Shea-sponsored two-mile-six-furlong edition, Childrens List gets the nod for the all-conquering Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh axis.
Another son of Presenting that won a point-to-point last year, Childrens List left behind a disappointing bumper debut in November to win nicely at Tramore last month. If he improves on that again now, he ought to be thereabouts.
The champion trainer's only other runner on the card is Tennis Cap in the Malton Novices' Chase, and he is also expected to collect.
Archie O'Leary's 2013 County Hurdle runner-up got his act together nicely at Cork in early April but the hurly burly of a big-field handicap at Punchestown didn't suit him on just his third chasing start.
Back in a conditions race against just five rivals, Tennis Cap might be able to dictate under Walsh, so he should win.
Eoin Griffin's Azorian is possibly his chief threat after finishing fifth in the same Punchestown handicap last time.
In the €40,000 feature, Walsh is on James Nash's Kerry National hero Your Busy, but this will be tough under top-weight. Preferred is Enda Bolger's Nina Carberry-ridden Federici.
A winner over this two-mile-six-furlong trip at Thurles in November off a mark of 110, he ran well to be second over the banks at Punchestown.
Federici gets in here off 121 for just 10st 6lb, and he is progressive enough to go close off those terms.