Newmill leads 37 Pierse possibles

NEWMILL will be required to carry top weight should John Murphy let his charge take his chance in Sunday’s Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The two-mile event is one of the most competitive handicap hurdles in the Irish calendar and has drawn 37 entries.

Newmill is not likely to be among the major fancies as although he has very decent form over timber, in his recent runs over fences he has looked a long way inferior to the horse who won the 2006 Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Likely to be of more interest are representatives from Tony Martin.

His Psycho – an agonising second in last year’s County Hurdle – could represent the canny trainer along with recent Cork winner Robin Du Bois and Mourne Rambler, who was down the field in The Ladbroke last time.

The sole British raider is set to be the Richard Fahey-trained Bolodenka, who was second at Musselburgh last time.

Noel Meade’s Sky Hall, Jessica Harrington’s novice Alpine Eagle and a handful from Willie Mullins in Imperial Hills, Sesenta, Mullach Na Si and Deutschland may also figure.

Michael Hourigan is acutely aware of how difficult it is to win the Pierse Hurdle as he tries to capture the prestigious handicap for the second time in his career.

It was back in 1995 when the Limerick trainer won the race with the discounted Anusha but he is likely to hold stronger claims this time around with Dancing Tornado.

The eight-year-old chestnut struck over course and distance at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting and trades at 10-1 with Boylesports and Cashmans, with the latter reporting a four-figure each-way bet.

“You certainly need a lot of luck as it’s a tight old track around Leopardstown,” said Hourigan.

“When I won it with Anusha she wasn’t even meant to run. We had another filly in there who was the one, but she went wrong.

“Anusha had been left in and she just nipped around the inside under Shane Broderick.

“Dancing Tornado is not the easiest of horses to ride or to handle but David Casey has been riding him and we’ll stick with him.

“He has been both unlucky and lucky so far and he was a bit lucky to win the last day.

“He ran well at Cheltenham on good ground – he prefers it softer but it doesn’t matter to him. It more depends how the race works out.”

Pierse Hurdle, Ladbrokes bet: 7-1 Psycho, Robin Du Bois, 8-1 Imperial Hills, 12-1 On The Way Out, Turtle Time Lucky, Vital Plot, 14-1 Carthalawn, Dancing Tornado, Fen Game, Splurge, 16-1 Alpine Eagle, Sanglote, Silver Jaro, Sky Hall, 20-1 bar.

Cashmans bet: 6-1 Imperial Hills, Robin Du Bois, 10-1 Psycho, Vital Plot, Dancing Tornado, Fen Game, 12-1 On The Way Out, Turtle Time Lucky, 16-1 Siege Of Ennis, Silver Jaro, Sky Hall, 20-1 Kirbybrouguelantern, 33-1 Newmill.

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