Gordon Elliott’s Moonshine Lad can provide the answer to a cracking Grade 3 Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel this afternoon.
The ex-winning point-to-pointer has a very progressive profile, producing his best effort to date in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown at Christmas.
He looked all over a winner coming away from the final flight, but was mugged close home and beaten three parts of a length by Willie Mullins’ Sure Reef.
That was over two and a half miles and, you’d imagine, stepping up another four furlongs in trip now will not be a minus for the selection.
Elliott also runs Double Irish and he could well be Moonshine Lad’s biggest danger. Double Irish cruised to victory at Leopardstown last time, trouncing two subsequent winners in Champagne James and Quickpick Vic.
But that contest was over two miles and tackling a further mile makes it difficult to assess the six-year-old, in the context of this test.
Willie Mullins’ Perfect Gentleman gets the vote in the Munster Hurdle, although it is a worry that he hasn’t been seen for 91 days.
Perfect Gentleman was an unlucky loser at Thurles in November, going under by three parts of a length to Gallant Tipp, after blundering badly at the final flight.
Fitness is rarely a worry with horses from this quarter and, hopefully, the market will speak in his favour.
Jimmy Mangan’s Perfect Promise, who missed a tempting engagement at Gowran Park on Saturday because of a stone bruise, has obviously made a quick recovery and runs in the Bumper.
This looks competitive, but the daughter of Presenting should go close, on her second behind the smart Miss Mardan at Fairyhouse.
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