Townend can make sure Pride comes before field
OLD PRIDE is the standout option on this evening's low-key spread at Clonmel.
Tom Taaffe's Fitri Hay-owned five-year-old finished third to none other than Jezki on its racecourse bow at Leopardstown in March 2012. He didn't resurface again until filling the same spot behind Waydownsouth in a maiden hurdle at Tramore on New Year's Day, when he had subsequent winners both in front of and behind him.
On his latest start at Leopardstown, Old Pride ran a blinder to be sixth in a decent race that was won by Legal Exit. The winner has scored again since, as has the fourth The Tullow Tank, while the eighth, Angelas Money, came up just short next time.
That sort of form is far superior to anything else on offer in tonight's maiden hurdle and the way in which Old Pride goes about his job also suggests that he could have a bright future.
He is a big, handsome horse that travels sweetly, so he is fancied to justify nap billing for Paul Townend now that he gets a bit of nice ground.
The going, officially yielding with good patches, will also suit Harry Kelly's Bulletproof in the two-mile handicap hurdle.
Successful in its point-to-point on a similar surface three years ago, this seven-year-old's only win since then came on fast ground last year at Wexford, where he also last ran when second off 97 in October.
Davy Condon's blinkered mount is three pounds higher now, but is one of the few in this for which you can make a solid case.
Tom Foley's Ontheground, also a winner on its last start at Wexford in October, is another, but he has plenty on under top-weight.
In the three-mile equivalent, Dessie Hughes and Mark Enright get the nod with the consistent Baby's Hot, while Pat Hughes' in-form Speed Dial has a fine opportunity to score for a third time in four Flat starts in the first of the two-mile handicaps.
Colm O'Donogue's game partner just got up at Limerick on Sunday, but he has only a four-pound penalty now, and this step up in trip will suit in what is another poor race.