PAUL NOLAN, who has had just four winners so far this campaign, could see his season move up a notch with Westmeath in the Tote Placepot Races 1 to 6 Maiden Hurdle at Ballinrobe today.
Successful in his only point, the selection made a winning debut on the racecourse in a bumper at Limerick back in May.
Not everything went right for him through the contest that day and Katie Walsh lost her whip in the closing stages.
But the promising Westmeath still delivered, getting the best of a tough battle with Good Time Donie to score by a neck.
Owned by the Gigginstown House Stud, jumping was always going to be his game and the booking of Paul Carberry is a bonus.
Carberry has also got the nod for Nolan's Alpha Ridge in the www.thetote.com Chase and the eight-year-old has plenty going for him.
For instance, he is 7lbs well in with principal rival, Bobs Pride, but the worry is that Alpha Ridge was largely disappointing over fences last season and his form simply deteriorated as he went along.
Bobs Pride has to concede plenty of weight, but looks more reliable at the moment and is given preference.
He was bang in contention in the Galway Plate, won by Finger Onthe Pulse, when falling at the final fence.
Ruby Walsh partners Bobs Pride and can also guide long-absent Corkonian to victory in the www.thetote.com Maiden Hurdle.
He has a break of 525 days to overcome, but Willie Mullins has his team in good shape right now and Corkonian looked a horse of potential when second to Luska Lad in a bumper at Fairyhouse in April of last year.
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