The six-year-old Presenting gelding has always looked a chaser in the making and has been found an ideal starting point by trainer Mouse Morris. Successful twice over hurdles, in a Listowel maiden and when left clear by the last flight fall of Head Of The Posse at Cork, his potential is better assessed by fourth placings behind the mighty Mikael D’Haguenet in Grade 1 action at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
Beaten ten lengths in the ‘Ballymore’ at Cheltenham, he was in front until approaching the final flight when less than six lengths fourth behind Willie Mullins’ crack novices Mikael D’Haguenet and Cousin Vinny in Punchestown’s Land Rover Champion Novice Hurdle. China Rock looks a cut above today’s rivals and should not be opposed.
Earlier, 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup victor War Of Attrition will attempt to make a winning seasonal debut for the fifth time in his career in the ‘Champion Chase’.
Successful at Punchestown (beating Kicking King) and Thurles last season, he also finished third to Noland in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown and was beaten twenty lengths when runner-up to Exotic Dancer in the ‘Lexus’ at Leopardstown.
War Of Attrition was pulled up in his final outing of last season -the Guinness Gold Cup - won by Notre Pere, at the Punchestown Festival.
Now a ten-year-old, he’s reported to be in good fettle by trainer Mouse Morris and is preferred to the talented by enigmatic Watson Lake.
Plenty of quality at Tipperary tomorrow, where the Ger Lyons-trained Dohasa, a winner at the Curragh last Sunday, will be strongly fancied to gain his revenge on Eddie Lynam’s Duff (which beat him in the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown back in June) in the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Home Of Champions Concorde Stakes.
Duff must shoulder a 5lb. Group 2 penalty, for his recent win in the Park Stakes at Doncaster and that extra burden might give Keagan Latham’s mount the edge.