Top Strategy may work out for Walsh

WE round off the pre-Christmas fare in Ireland this weekend with two rather disappointing meetings at Navan and Thurles and if the expenses haven’t been accumulated by now then it is probably all too late!

The somewhat enigmatic Ted Walsh trained Top Strategy gets the nap to take the Irish Racing Yearbook Hurdle.

If putting his best foot forward there is little doubt he has the ability to win this. The worry, however, is that he is well capable of running a stinker.

Nevertheless, Top Strategy looks worth risking in a contest in which a solid case can be made for very few of the 23 contestants.

As well as that the selection is now fitted with blinkers, which he wore when producing a career-best effort, third in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Top Strategy certainly appeared badly in need of the aids to concentration when staying on one-paced to fill third spot behind Leonard Di Vinci and Rocket Ship at Naas last month.

Feathard Lady, unbeaten in three races, may emerge as the main danger.

Colm Murphy’s mare took two ordinary bumpers, before producing a decent display first time up over flights at Naas at the end of October to beat subsequent winner, Emotional Article, a comfortable three lengths.

Another frustrating sort, Jack Of The Cross, is a hopeful choice in the Sunnyhill Stud EBF Beginners ’Chase.

His latest effort, a remote fourth behind Always at Roscommon in October, is best ignored, as he was travelling nicely when badly hampered three from home.

Previously, Jack Of The Cross was only collared late at Listowel by the smart Mirpour, who went in again next time at Tipperary.

The nine-year-old returns now after a break of 68 days, but has shown in the past he goes best fresh.

At Thurles tomorrow the improving Lissbonney Project is the choice in the Horse and Jockey Hotel Hurdle.

He looked a very modest performer until slamming the smart Justified to take a maiden at Punchestown.

Lissbonney Project’s latest effort saw him fill third spot behind Tasman and Oh Be The Hokey at Cork, where he didn’t appear to stay two and a half miles.

Capt Pugwash, who made little impact on his Irish debut against New Field at Fairyhouse, could be the answer to the INH Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden Hurdle.

It looks significant that he is now making a big step up in trip of over six furlongs and this is a poor event.

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