Spring Heeled well fancied to step up and fulfil early promise
Spring Heeled is napped to take the step up in class in his stride when he meets half-a-dozen smart rivals in the Southampton Goodwill Chase at Listowel this afternoon.
Trained by Jim Culloty, a proud Kerry-man now domiciled in Cork, Spring Heeled came good at the sixth time of asking over fences at Killarney three weeks ago.
A dual hurdle winner, his potential was always clear, but the Old Vic six-year-old took time to mature. Given the authoritative manner in which he prevailed in Killarney, he might be starting to fulfil that promise now.
Moreover, The Real Article, third then, franked the form in grand style here earlier in the week, so Davy Russell's mount is strongly fancied to follow up.
Hidden Cyclone tops the weights. John 'Shark' Hanlon's charge was second to Rathlin at Galway, but seems to have lost his way over fences.
While last year's Galway Plate hero Bob Lingo and Forpadydeplasterer lend further quality to the two-and-half-mile contest, Spring Heeled can improve to take advantage of the weight concessions he receives.
In the John Fletcher Memorial Novice Hurdle, Shamar gets the nod to redeem his reputation following an odds-on defeat at Tramore.
Willie Mullins' five-year-old never looked happy on the seaside venue's trappy undulations, but should be more at ease here.
Successful at Killarney in July, he was second to Que Pasa at Galway in between, and those two efforts are pretty solid.
Diplomat, his main rival in this eight-runner affair, was most of a length back in third at Ballybrit, but is 2lb worse off today.
While Weld's representative could shade it if the ground were to deteriorate any further, Shamar ought to confirm his superiority under Ruby Walsh if it stays no worse than soft.
The John J Galvin Maiden Hurdle that follows is wide open, but Philip Rothwell's Galway bumper scorer Merrion Row might just be worth siding with on his jumping bow, having accounted for two subsequent winners on its track debut at Ballybrit.
On the Flat, the €50,000 Guinness Handicap takes centre stage. This is a race that often throws up a useful winner, and Capitol Hill is a progressive three-year-old that has already shown its liking for this type of ground when scoring for a second time this term at Galway.
However, Quick Jack is the one to keep on side. Although drawn wide, Tony Martin's four-year-old has bundles of appeal off a low weight under Wayne Lordan.
Second at Galway on its first start on the level for Martin, he went on to win at Newmarket next time. He is 8lb higher now, but that might not be nearly enough to stop him.