Two meetings today in Ireland, and the nap comes over the jumps at Tipperary where Shanroe should prove himself well ahead of his handicap mark when contesting the Oola Handicap Hurdle.
Karl Thornton’s horse won three bumpers and makes his handicap debut over hurdles following a fine effort to win a competitive Flat handicap last week at Limerick. That level of form suggests he is potentially thrown in off his current mark of 109. Of course, he needs to show he can translate it to jumping, but all his hurdling form, bar when brought down on debut, is forgivable on the basis of it being on soft ground. It will be much more to his liking today, and he looks a class apart.
The Grade 3 Kevin McManus Grimes Hurdle is the feature and it presents a good opportunity for Petit Mouchoir to gain a long overdue return to winning ways.
Henry De Bromhead’s runner has not won a race since October 2017 and, for that reason, is in receipt of weight from a number of rivals with lower ratings.
However, he was in great form last year, finishing a close third to stablemate Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle and not beaten all that far in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. Today’s conditions should be ideal for the grey to employ his usual front-running tactics, and he can see off all challengers. Willie Mullins has a couple of interesting runners, but Ornua, a stablemate of the selection, can give him most to think about.
Theatre Of War enjoys a significant drop in class for the Tipperary Maiden Hurdle and Gavin Cromwell’s runner should have little trouble taking full advantage.
The Derby meeting at the Curragh gets underway today with a difficult card, but The Rain King ran a race of real promise on debut and can reverse form with runner-up Mr Wendell when they contest the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden over a mile.
His trainer, Donnacha O’Brien, also has strong prospects with Oh So True in the Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Fillies’ Maiden. The Extra.ie Apprentice Derby completes the card and Willie Mullins’ Foveros can make a winning return to the Flat.