Siegemaster can be king of Troytown
A field of 18 will slog it out on heavy ground at Navan tomorrow for the 2010 Ladbrokes.com Troytown Chase.
The €55,250 three-mile handicap was won in facile fashion by Willie Mullins' Beroni 12 months ago, though there doesn't appear to be anything with quite so progressive a profile as that one in the line-up this time round.
Got Attitude and For A Finish are two seven-year-olds that bring winning form into the race, but whether either will be suited by such a dour test is far from guaranteed.
The former hunter chaser Having A Cut is the only other horse that heads for the Meath feature on the back of a win, but similar stamina reservations apply to him.
Of those proven in the conditions, there are few more appealing than the Gigginstown House Stud-owned pair, Siegemaster and Hangover.
The latter is largely consistent and ought to be thereabouts again tomorrow, but the worry with Conor O'Dwyer's runner is that his consistency prevents the handicapper from giving him any respite. Siegemaster, on the other hand, has been dropped 4lbs from a career high of 149. When you factor in Bryan Cooper's claim, he is another 5lbs better off.
That might just be enough to see the nine-year-old, which was fifth in the Punchestown Gold Cup in April and chased home China Rock and Sizing Europe on his reappearance, return to the winner's enclosure for a first time in a year.
In the subsequent beginners' chase, Mullins, who is doubly represented by Arbor Supreme and Pomme Tiepy in the Troytown, should collect with Fionnegas. Twice a winner over flights, Paul Townend's mount was also a runner-up in two Grade Ones last term behind Dunguib and Reve De Sivola.
The six-year-old son of Accordion has much less on his plate here, and it will be disappointing if he doesn't open his chasing account in some style. Uncle Tom Cobley caught the eye when third on his fencing debut over course and distance a fortnight ago, so it would be no surprise to see him make the frame for Davy Russell.
In the Monksfield Novice Hurdle, Waterford-based Garry Ducey has found a good opportunity for his Aughnacurraveel to make a seamless transition to graded company. Indeed, the €27,300 Grade Two is poorly contested to a surprising degree, with little to recommend any of Aughnacurraveel's six rivals at this level.
The selection, successful in a point-to-point and bumper, maintained his 100pc record over hurdles when accounting for Thursday's winner Sizing Mexico at Fairyhouse at the beginning of the month. A reproduction of that effort ought to be enough now.
Noel Meade's Jetson is on a bit of a retrieval mission in the INH Stallion Owners' EBF Maiden Hurdle after getting brought down when still in with a chance at the last fixture here. However, Gordon Elliott's Eight Is My Number is just preferred, having made a good impression when securing a bumper on its debut on the same card.
In tomorrow's bumper, Catcherinscratcher is fancied to build on a short-head second to the useful Our Victoria at Punchestown in October. The valuable fillies' event looks highly competitive, but Eddie Hales' charge may have a touch of class.