Tuesday 24 October 2017

Talented Tarla's return can reap rewards for Mullins at Roscommon

Willie Mullins
Willie Mullins
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

The bang in-form Willie Mullins has an intriguing runner on the Flat at Roscommon tonight in the shape of Tarla.

A high-profile French purchase, Tarla has had just one start for the champion jumps trainer, hacking up in a Grade Three hurdle at the Punchestown Festival two years ago. The talented mare finally reappears now in a 10-furlong maiden that won't take much winning.

Of the nine other hopefuls, eight have run on the Flat, yet just one, Hilary, has managed to make the frame in a few modest heats. Given that Mullins' team is in typically rude health, Tarla could be well up to justifying the nap vote under Pat Smullen despite her lay-off.

In the card's feature, the €40,000 Lenabane Stakes, Smullen rides Sense Of Purpose, but Johnny Murtagh can secure the Listed event on the Mick Halford-trained Massiyn.

Murtagh's main source of ammunition, John Oxx, has two Aga Khan-owned contenders on duty, but the champion jockey has opted for Halford's three-year-old, a course maiden winner in May that stayed on dourly to grab victory off a mark of 88 on his handicap bow at the Curragh.

On just his fourth start, and his first over 12 furlongs, the Zamindar colt has the scope to prove equal to this step up in class on the sort of testing ground that he handles well. Murtagh could follow up on Top Man Michael, his only other ride, in the concluding handicap, having steered Noel Meade's three-year-old to a ready win in deep going at Navan last month.

That triumph came in a lowly claimer, but Top Man Michael has been placed off 66, so he has obvious prospects off a pound higher rating now that he has found his form. Jim Bolger's Dayrina, third at Navan, is 11lb better off for a nine-length defeat, but looks more exposed.

Irish Independent

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