Unaccompanied holds the Naas aces for Weld
Unaccompanied can get her jumping campaign off to the best possible start when she tackles the Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas today.
A game second under a welter burden at Leopardstown last Sunday, Dermot Weld's Triumph Hurdle runner-up has plenty in her favour in this seven-runner Listed contest.
Two miles with a bit of cut in the ground will suit her ideally, while Sailors Warn, which is rated on a par with her at 140, must concede seven pounds.
Granted, that one's recent Punchestown second to Steps To Freedom reads well now, but on the two occasions that he met Unaccompanied last term, the mare prevailed. With that in mind, Paul Townend's mount is deserving of the nap selection.
The reigning champion jockey is also likely to be popular on Quel Esprit in the conditions chase. Willie Mullins' representative spoiled his novice campaign with some erratic jumping and the small field here may help him rediscover his poise.
However, Saludos, theoretically 10lbs wrong with Quel Esprit at the weights, is taken to have his measure. If the Jessica Harrington-trained seven-year-old comes on for his slightly tame reappearance fourth to Kauto Stone at Down Royal, he might well make Quel Esprit's life very difficult.
Earlier, Harrington and Robert Power's Serein is opposed with John Kiely's Reizovic in the maiden hurdle, while an intriguing beginners' chase could go the way of Shinrock Paddy.
Having been turned over at odds-on twice in a row, Stonemaster is easy to oppose here, especially against a horse of Shinrock Paddy's calibre. Ostensibly disappointing on his fencing bow at Punchestown, Paul Nolan's charge should strip fitter now.
More importantly, having jumped markedly to his left then, Shinrock Paddy confirmed a suspicion that he is at his best around anti-clockwise venues. Returning to a track at which he is two from two over hurdles, the Barry Connell-owned seven-year-old should go close under Andrew McNamara, who returns after a lengthy injury lay-off.
Elsewhere, Gold Cup winner Long Run is gearing up for a return to action and enjoyed a schooling session yesterday with big-race jockey Sam Waley-Cohen at Nicky Henderson's Seven Barrows yard.
Waley-Cohen does all the homework on the brilliant six-year-old, which also won the King George last year and is due to reappear in the Betfair Chase at Haydock next weekend.
Henderson has admitted Long Run needed plenty of schooling on his arrival from France and is still attempting to iron out any kinks in his technique.
"He feels fantastic and is moving brilliantly, but these horses go wrong so quick, we touch wood and hope he gets to the Betfair in the condition he is in now," Waley-Cohen said.