Jessica Harrington is looking forward to launching a formidable twin assault on the BoyleSports Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday as she bids to win the prestigious handicap a fourth time.
The County Kildare-based trainer struck gold with Dance Beat in 1996 and Studmaster 10 years later, before Citizenship’s triumph three years ago.
This season’s challenge is headed by Rock The World, who has already won twice this season and finished a creditable second over course and distance three weeks ago.
Harrington also saddles the unexposed Modem.
She said: “He (Rock The World) has done very well this year, he seems to have grown up and matured.
“He’s running off 6lb higher than when he was beaten at Christmas but the faster they go in this race the better.
“He’s a big, strong horse and I think he will run very well.
“He just has so many problems last year but we seem to have got things straightened out this year.
“Modem is very inexperienced and he’s really only had three runs over hurdles.
“In a big handicap, that may stand against him, but he’s a hardy horse with a light weight on his back.
“Because he’s not very big, he should run well.”
Leading owner JP McManus is unsurprisingly well represented, with Waxies Dargle, Snake Eyes, Shantou Ed and Draco all in contention.
Waxies Dargle impressed on his latest appearance at Fairyhouse in mid-November and Noel Meade feels his charge is capable of being involved in the finish once more.
He said: “Every year it is always very competitive, it always has been since it was made a handicap a few years back.
“It’s always hard to win but I’ve been lucky enough to win it once (Glencloud, 1993).
“I’m very happy with him at the moment, he’s had a couple of runs in handicaps.
“He likes soft ground and hopefully he’ll have a fighting chance.”
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