Sunday 19 November 2017

Shakervilz has what it takes

Damien McElroy

No shortage of interesting Easter Sunday fare for Irish racing followers with the Powers Gold Cup providing the pivotal point of the opening afternoon at Fairyhouse and action under both codes in Cork.

The 51st renewal of the Powers promotion at the Meath course is solidly backed up both by the Grade Two Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle and the Grade Three Novice Hurdle confined to mares.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins will have the expert assistance here of multiple title-holders Ruby Walsh and Tony McCoy as he attempts to capture each of these competitive-looking events.

McCoy's trip for the starting point of the main meeting of the year at Fairyhouse is principally to link up for the Powers Gold Cup with Kempes, which has recently been acquired by JP McManus.

Conqueror of Tom O'Leary's stable star Jagoes Mills at Thurles in late February, this multiple scorer under both codes could have his work cut out to uphold that form in what should be more demanding conditions tomorrow.

On top of that there's no certainty Kempes will prove the pick of the Mullins pair on this occasion as Shakervilz goes into the fray with an undefeated record over the larger obstacles including at Grade Two level also.

Then there's the likes of Zaarito and Roberto Goldback, both of which bypassed Cheltenham too, and the free-going Let Yourself Go to take into serious account for what should be an informative affair.

While the Mullins yard hasn't experienced much joy in this Grade One race in recent years, I won't be surprised if Shakervilz proves their trump card as the going may not play to the strengths of Kempes and Zaarito.

The formidable Mullins-Walsh partnership could be victorious as well in the preceding novice hurdle as Morning Supreme steps up in trip after defeating Blazing Tempo and For Bill in Limerick last month.

The seven-year-old's bid for a fourth win on the trot would be greatly enhanced by a slicker round of jumping this time with top weight Premier Victory bound to ensure a proper pace from the outset.

This pair indeed could have the finish to themselves and Morning Supreme's trademark finishing kick may well prove the decisive factor once more unless her stamina is found wanting.

The prospects of Mullins and Walsh monopolising the afternoon's main races might founder though when Blackstairmountain, 10th to Menorah in Cheltenham's opener, goes for the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle.

Absent since gamely defeating Some Present at Cheltenham last November, Loosen My Load will hardly prove as effective on the prevailing going as 'Shark' Hanlon's joint-top weight Luska Lad.

In what could be a tactical affair, front-running Luska Lad is the choice to complete a hat-trick and fully justify the decision not to take in Cheltenham.

Another treble seeker, Jim Bowie, could be the pick of the Noel Meade-Paul Carberry alliance's runners here tomorrow in the final of the novice handicap hurdle series and the Castletown handler will be keeping his fingers crossed Aran Concerto can turn his season around in Cork's Imperial Call Chase.

Irish Independent

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