Saturday 20 January 2018

Walsh to make most of Russell absence

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

With Davy Russell absent from this afternoon's meeting at Clonmel due to a whip suspension, Ruby Walsh can narrow the 17-strong deficit that currently exists between the pair at the top of the jockeys' table.

Walsh has four booked mounts at the Powerstown venue, all of which hold serious chances.

In the opening maiden hurdle, he takes the reins on the Tony Martin-trained Edeymi, a real improver that sports the colours of Russell's employer, Gigginstown House Stud.

The Barathea four-year-old has not finished out of the first four in three hurdle races to date, finishing third behind Darroun and Hisaabaat at Leopardstown most recently, form that reads particularly well after the latter's Grade One success on Sunday.

While Edeymi faces 17 older rivals here, none boast nearly as robust form lines, so he should justify the nap vote.

In the card's other maiden, Walsh is on Are Ya Right Chief for Willie Mullins. Noble Pageant, twice a Limerick runner-up, is a threat, but it's hard to see past Are Ya Right Chief.

A Fairyhouse bumper winner in November, the son of Flemensfirth has been second to Golanbrook and Knockgraffon King in his two previous hurdling starts.

If he reproduces that level of performance now, he is unlikely to get beaten.

Bishopsfurze will also take plenty of stopping for Mullins and Walsh in the five-runner conditions chase, while the partnership's most interesting prospect may be Back In Focus in the equivalent hurdle race.

A point-to-point winner in January 2011, the Graham Wylie-owned Bob Back gelding hacked up in a Grade Two novice hurdle at Haydock a month later.

He subsequently misfired on good ground at Aintree, but it will be fascinating to see what he might be capable of in what isn't a bad race.

Stablemate Turban, conqueror of Folsom Blue and Trifolium on its Thurles bow in November but narrowly denied by Casa Jove at Tramore last time, looks the main danger in receipt of weight under Paul Townend.

In the beginners' chase, Dessie Hughes' Ross Na Righ can build on his promising fencing debut at Navan. Second to Oscar Dan Dan then, he should be better for that experience.

Irish Independent

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