Cheltenham Gold Cup winning trainer Jim Culloty can enjoy a welcome success with Marvellous Moment in the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Novice Hurdle at Thurles this afternoon.
The ex-point-to-pointer made a promising racecourse debut here two weeks ago and gets the nap to build on that. He travelled and jumped beautifully through the contest and shaped as the likely winner for most of the two miles and six furlongs.
In the end, however, he was no match for the favourite, Noel Meade’s Couleur France, and was beaten four and three-quarter lengths into second.
The selection didn’t help his cause by hanging towards the stands on the run-in and will surely have benefited greatly from the experience.
Marvellous Moment has every chance of reversing placings with Couleur France, on 7lbs better terms, and also gets the same weight concession from the other previous winners, Drumacoo and Bosman Rule.
Shark Hanlon’s Hidden Cyclone is much favoured by the conditions of the featured Listed John Meagher Memorial Chase and gets the vote.
He produced a number of solid efforts last season, the best coming at the Cheltenham Festival when runner-up behind Dynaste in the Ryanair Chase.
Willie Mullins has possibilities of a treble, starting with the French-import As de Ferbet, second over fences at Auteuil in April, in the Beginners Chase.
Mullins’ Valyssa Monterg, another from France, won three bumpers in her native country and is the obvious choice in the Thurles Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Bellshill, second in a point-to-point at Maralin in March, could be yetanother for Mullins in the Bumper.
The third in that race, Bordini, made an impressive debut for the Carlow trainer when scoring impressively at Punchestown last Sunday.
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