Walsh can restore pride on Mullins' Pique Sous
In light of the farcical scenes that unfolded at Leopardstown on Thursday, punters might be forgiven for giving this evening's amateur riders' race at Bellewstown a wide berth.
The standard of amateur jockey in this country is far superior to anywhere else in the world, yet three of our very best practitioners were among five that allowed the unconsidered 50/1 shot Writers Block build an unassailable lead in Thursday's mile-and-six-furlong Flat maiden.
With none of the fancied horses keen to set the pace, Alan Wells, who had never ridden a winner on the track before, allowed Writers Block to stride on at a modest gallop. Inexplicably, the five others then opted not to follow him, a misjudgment that was made worse by their subsequent disinclination to even try to reel him in.
It was only as the field straightened up with two furlongs to run that Jane Mangan, James 'Corky' Carroll and Katie Walsh set about asking their respective mounts to reduce a deficit that still stood at a yawning 20-plus lengths.
Their efforts proved in vain as the 10-year-old Writers Block accepted the gift to end a string of point-to-point form figures that comprised exclusively of letters to come home 14 lengths clear of the Mangan-ridden favourite Cullentry Royal.
It wasn't the first time that an incident of this nature occurred but it was by far the worst example of it, not least because of the quality of rider involved.
The five riders – the other two being 7lb claimers Kate Harrison and Harley Dunne – each received a four-day ban for not taking all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing, and the only certainty is that none will appeal a sentence that has to be considered lenient.
Mangan and Walsh, a gifted duo who are usually so tactically astute, get the opportunity to make amends in this evening's Eva-Tec Ltd Race over 12 furlongs. Mangan is on Dermot Weld's Encrypted Message and Walsh on Willie Mullins' classy Pique Sous, while Tony Martin also saddles his County Hurdle hero Ted Veale and smart bumper horse Blackmail.
As such, it is an amateur riders' race that has the potential to be of significance for all the right reasons, with Pique Sous fancied to make the most of the fast ground to add to its comfortable Dundalk win in February.
In the preceding Woods Financial Services Maiden over the same trip, John Murphy's Cardinal Palace is napped under apprentice Connor King.
Dual runner-up Stepping Down is the danger, but the form of Cardinal Palace's second to Zarkiyr looks strong, given that the third, Teorim, won on Thursday.
In the City North Hotel Handicap over five furlongs, sprint king Eddie Lynam can score with the Declan McDonogh-ridden Sylvan Mist, which just got chinned in a similar event at Tipperary recently.