Weld's Croisultan to make light work of heavy going at Cork
Croisultan is napped to exploit suitably testing ground conditions at Cork this evening.
The Dermot Weld-trained six-year-old has always looked happiest when there is plenty give underfoot, and he will be guaranteed that. Following yesterday's inspection, the straight course was deemed unraceable due to waterlogging, meaning that the five-furlong sprint is lost and the two six-furlong events switch to the round course.
Croisultan faces just four rivals in the second of those, a conditions race in which he emerges as the clear pick on official ratings.
Having denied Sunday's Newmarket winner Maarek at the Curragh on the opening day of the campaign and finished second to the high-class Excelebration last month, Pat Smullen's mount sets a fair standard. In between, he did turn in a poor effort at Cork, but that was on drier ground and it was ultimately a performance that was so bad that there must have been something amiss on the day.
Of the remainder, the inferior-rated Gordon Lord Byron is another that goes well in the mud, as evidenced by his heavy ground victory last week.
In the seven-furlong handicap that follows, Andrew Lee's Packsapunch, a close fifth on his reappearance at Gowran Park, should have a big say under Colm O'Donoghue, while Chicago looks a solid option for Aidan O'Brien in the colts and geldings' maiden.
Second at Gowran and Tipperary on its last two starts, the Montjeu colt handled this sort of ground well last time, and should have no difficulty getting off the mark under the trainer's son Joseph now.
The Ballydoyle handler saddles three in the concluding fillies' maiden, though it is his mentor Jim Bolger that may boast the upper hand here with Livia Galilei. When fourth at headquarters first time up, Bolger's three-year-old had Hartani five lengths behind, so that one's subsequent victory at Tipperary last week was a fine advertisement for the selection.
On the day's jumps card at Downpatrick, Willie Mullins has four live chances, with Perfect Gentleman and Maggie Connolly both fancied to oblige.
The Closutton handler's son Patrick takes the reins on Perfect Gentleman in the opening maiden hurdle. Twice placed in his only two hurdle starts, Perfect Gentleman is the obvious pick. Realt Den Chathair has plenty of placed form in bumpers, but Eoin Griffin's six-year-old doesn't have the experience of an outing over flights.
While Maggie Connolly probably has more on her plate in the mares' hurdle, she deserves the benefit of the doubt after a couple of no-shows in competitive handicaps. This forecast good ground might help and she is Ruby Walsh's sole booking.