Vaxalco's progressive profile earns nap vote at Fairyhouse
On a day when Lord Windermere strives for big-race glory for his Churchtown stable at Newbury, Jim Culloty's Vaxalco is fancied to justify a speculative nap vote at Fairyhouse.
Culloty's sole runner at the Meath fixture, the grey four-year-old faces 24 rivals in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.
That sounds like a formidable proposition, but few others possess nearly as progressive a profile as Mikey Fogarty's mount.
Having struggled to make an impact on testing ground as a juvenile last term, Vaxalco began to show his true potential when overcoming trouble in running to stay on gamely for third in drier conditions at Navan earlier in the month.
Given that run was over most of three miles, the drop in trip here is a slight concern, but it is possible that the manner of his defeat is somewhat misleading.
There wasn't a strong gallop, so he was always at a disadvantage coming from behind, a point exacerbated when he met interference.
While Vaxalco will need luck in running in such a big field again here, Fogarty will doubtless endeavour to sit closer to the pace, so his mount is trusted to defy a 4lb hike to collect.
Earlier, The Mighty Milan also has plenty appeal in the Tote Maiden Hurdle for Culloty's Mallow neighbour TJ Nagle, who has seen two of his produce, Just A Par and Milan Bound, excel in England this week.
The Mighty Milan is another smart Nagle prospect, though he also faces 24 rivals on a busy spread at the Ratoath track.
For whatever reason, The Mighty Milan flopped badly at Navan last time, but if you forgive him one bad run, his profile is appealing.
When he won his second bumper at the track in April, he had the classy pair Azorian and Apache Stronghold behind and he finished a fine fourth in a decent Tipperary Grade Three on his hurdle bow.
In the beginners' chase, Ted Walsh's Barry Connell-owned Foxrock gets the nod to build on his promising fencing bow at Naas for Danny Mullins.
A staying-on second there over an inadequate trip to tomorrow's Grade One-bound Road To Riches, the five-year-old is back over a slightly more favourable two miles and five furlongs here.
Operating – third that day – Sizing Gold, Touch The Eden and Some Tikket should ensure that this contest will not be all one-way traffic, but the promise of Foxrock's Naas exertions stands out as a most solid recommendation.
Mark Walsh could bag a quick brace in the JP McManus silks aboard Speckled Wood and Cause Of Causes, with Galway handler David Kelly's King William worth a look in the Bar One Racing Handicap Hurdle.
Again, this is wide-open, but King William was closest to Ally Cascade when he crashed here at the last flight 10 days ago.
That was no mean performance, so he should have a big say off a low weight here under Mark Enright.