Dual Grade One-winning hurdler The Tullow Tank makes his eagerly-anticipated debut over fences at Fairyhouse today.
The six-year-old claimed the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last season before suffering his first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Vautour in the Deloitte.
While Vautour went on to clinch glory at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals, The Tullow Tank was given the rest of the season off due to the court case hanging over trainer Philip Fenton, who was recently convicted for possession of illegal animal remedies at a district court in Ireland.
The Tullow Tank has his first start for trainer Dessie Hughes and will be ridden by owner Barry Connell’s new retained jockey Adrian Heskin for the first time in today’s Fairyhouse Membership 2015 On Sale Now Beginners Chase.
Connell said: “He’s been ready to run for a couple of weeks. We’ve just been waiting for a bit of ease in the ground.
“They’re calling it good to yielding at Fairyhouse, so if we’re happy with it tomorrow, the intention is to let him run and hopefully he’ll take a bit of beating.
“Everyone has been happy with him at home and the plan is, if all goes well, he’ll go back to Fairyhouse in three weeks for the Drinmore.
“He’s had a clear run, we’ve had no hiccups with him and he’s a proper Grade One horse.
“There is no reason why he shouldn’t go and jump a fence, Adrian has schooled him a couple of times and everything has gone well.
“Adrian has ridden a couple of nice winners for us already, so hopefully things continue that way.”
The Tullow Tank is the star turn in a seven-runner field, but faces a couple of interesting opponents.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Mala Beach has held his own in good company over hurdles for the last couple of seasons and was last seen winning the Grade Two Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park in January.
He is also making his debut over the larger obstacles and is joined in the field by stable companion Riverside City. Eoin Griffin’s Azorian shaped well as a novice hurdler last season, filling the runner-up spot behind Briar Hill in the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle.
Rebel Cry, Whitesfort Boy and Heroic Approach complete the line-up.
Value At Risk, a useful bumper performer last term for Philip Fenton, has joined Dan Skelton’s team.
Owner Marc Huglin has switched his five-year-old to Skelton’s care following Fenton’s conviction for possession of illegal medicines at a district court in Ireland last month.
Value At Risk won twice last term and finished third at the Punchestown Festival when last seen and Skelton is now keen to turn his attention to hurdling with his new recruit.
Skelton said: “Value At Risk is very high calibre. We will be going novice hurdling with him and he has come in fit.
“We would like to get him out pretty soon so that if we want to go for a good novice hurdle later in the winter we can.
“The guy who owns and bred him is a bit nervous that the quicker spring ground is not really his cup of tea.
“So, although we have big novice hurdle aspirations in the spring, they would not be the be all and end all. We have one eye on chasing the following season.”
Cheltenham Festival winner Attaglance is on course to return to Prestbury Park for the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday week.
The eight-year-old claimed the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at the 2012 Festival and came close to striking gold again in March when only narrowly denied by Present View in the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Trainer Malcolm Jefferson was pleased with Attaglance’s comeback run when fifth at Market Rasen in late September and he is set for a rematch with Present View on November 15.
“We are aiming Attaglance at the Paddy Power Gold Cup,” said the trainer.
“I was happy enough with his run at Market Rasen. I thought it was a good run back, and I have been happy with him since.
“He is suited by better ground – the better the ground the better he is. If it’s good ground that would be perfect but if it’s on the soft side of good that should be fine for him too. Proper jumping ground is fine.”
*Anodin has been retired to stud following his fantastic effort in defeat in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.
The four-year-old was bidding to follow in the hoofprints of legendary full-sister and former stable companion Goldikova, who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile three times for trainer Freddy Head among a staggering 14 Group One triumphs.
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