The selection, trained by Jimmy Mangan, finished third behind Elegant Statesman and Never Complain on his return, last month at Clonmel, and is entitled to have come on significantly for the outing.
The conditions of that rated chase did not favour the eight-year-old, but he jumped well and was in contention for much of the trip, before fading in the home-straight. Back in handicap company this afternoon and with the slightly longer trip and more testing ground conditions to suit, an improved effort looks very much on the cards.
His sole success to date over fences came over course and distance, and he can supplement that at the expense of Give Me A Break. The last-named is very well-in on his hurdling form and, while he may prefer better ground, must be respected.
Shaneshill makes his chasing debut in the opening Killinan Beginners’ Chase and a clean round of jumping should suffice for the classy hurdler.
On his most recent start he finished third behind stable companion Killultagh Vic in Grade 1 over three miles, but prior to that had won a Grade 2 over two and a half miles at Fairyhouse, having previously run-up behind Douvan in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Starting off over two miles and two furlongs today, the former Cheltenham Champion Bumper runner-up should prove too sharp for his rivals, headed by Walk To Freedom, from the in-form stable of Jessica Harrington.
Petit Mouchoir can make a winning start over hurdles in the Cahir Maiden Hurdle. The four-year-old was successful in his only point to point, in February at Kirkistown, and made a successful track debut for Gordon Elliott when running away with the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival, in April. After the Punchestown victory, Elliott said the winner was a very nice prospect but not the quickest in the world. In hotter company today’s two-mile trip might be a concern, but this looks quite winnable, and the grey son of Al Namix, now with Willie Mullins, should prove a class apart from his rivals, despite having to concede weight all around.
Long House Island can take the Templemore Handicap Hurdle for Denis Hogan. The lightly raced seven-year-old caught the eye in defeat on his penultimate start, in which he finished fifth behind All You Need.
Taking a step forward from that, he ran over today’s course and distance last week and had to survive a stewards’ enquiry before being declared the winner of a novice handicap company.
Although the margin of victory was only a head, he travelled like much the best horse in the race and, in all probability, hit the front much sooner than he would have liked.