Sunday 18 February 2018

Shamar looks a Roscommon gem for Ruby and Mullins

Thomas Kelly

WHILE the Willie Mullins yard may not be as prolific at the height of summer as it is during the winter months, normal service should resume on Roscommon's eight-race card this evening.

The Closutton handler suffered a few minor setbacks at Bellewstown, most notably the defeat of Pique Sous in an amateur riders' race, but that is unlikely to knock him off his considerable stride.

Mullins teams up with the irrepressible Ruby Walsh in the Easyfix Rubber Products Novice Hurdle with Shamar, which looks well equipped to follow up his maiden hurdle success at Cork.

The son of Dr Fong showed a liking for decent ground when breaking his duck over hurdles at the Mallow venue and despite the obvious claims of Benemeade and Banana Flambe, he looks like another winner for the champion jumps trainer. Walsh also has prospects in the opening maiden hurdle, for which he takes the leg-up on Tom Taaffe's Strategic Bid.

The five-year-old does have to overcome a long absence from the track, but if he repeats his last run – when finishing a half-a-length second to Starkie – the son of Selkirk can see off the challenge of Dawerann.

Taaffe and Walsh also combine with veteran campaigner Treacle in the featured staying handicap hurdle, but this former smart chaser has it all to do with 11st 8lb on his back.

Dot Love's Irish National winner Liberty Counsel and Adrian Maguire's Golden Kite will appreciate the underfoot conditions and should attract plenty support in the ring, but preference goes to Courtncatcher which is taken to follow up last month's course and distance win.

In the two bumpers, preference goes to Katie T and Rally.

Irish Independent

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