Jim Dreaper’s Venitien de Mai gets the nap to beat Willie Mullins’ Roi Des Francs in the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle at the Tipperary track this afternoon.
The selection, unbeaten in four point-to-points, made his debut on the racecourse at Clonmel last month to finish six lengths runner-up behind Jimmy Two Times.
The form of that contest has been working out reasonably well. Jimmy Two Times looked set to win a handicap at Leopardstown subsequently, but for falling at the final flight, while the third at Clonmel, Sambremont, scored at Tramore next time.
Roi Des Francs will be having first run for Willie Mullins, carrying Gigginstown’s colours for the first time, having previously been in the care of his brother, Tony.
He certainly possesses the best piece of form facing into this test, having finished a two lengths second behind the smart Drumacoo at Punchestown in late October.
The six-year-old, however, is largely untried in testing conditions and with Venitien de Mai in receipt of plenty of weight, he is preferred.
Mount Colah gets the nod to defy top weight in the featured and Listed Thurles Racecourse Supporters’ Club Chase.
He has been a very good money-spinner for connections and arrives on the back of a fine display, in what should have been a competitive handicap, at Navan, scoring by 11 lengths.
Aidan O’Brien’s triple bumper winner, Macbride, is the obvious starting point in the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle.
But he has been absent for 169 days and also his best form is on a decent surface, so it may pay to looks elsewhere for the likely winner.
The vote falls on Keith Clarke’s New World, who made a good start over jumps when second to Montys Meadow at Cork.
Montys Meadow went on to run a cracker when second at Limerick over Christmas, while the third placed finisher at Cork, Hurry Henry, returned to that track last Saturday to easily land a bumper.
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