Peace mission could pay off for Francis Flood in Clonmel
SATURDAY'S Fairyhouse winner Peace N' Milan makes a swift reappearance in the Carrick-On-Suir Mares Handicap Hurdle at Clonmel this afternoon. That success, a first in his name for trainer Francis Flood, sees the six-year-old burdened with a 6lb penalty which takes her weight to 12st 1lb. But the handicapper reckoned her win over The Green Lady and Swift with margins of four-and-a-half lengths and 18 lengths,was worth 10lb. And she has to take her chance quickly off this more favourable mark.
At this low level, consistency is not always to the fore and should the task prove beyond her, there are plenty capable of capitalising, not least Zipporah, who was a facile winner over course and distance a fortnight ago and has been bumped up 10lb. Leila's Island is edging ever closer to the winner's enclosure, and Jim Dreaper’s Cerca Trova is on a hat-trick mission but hasn't been sighted for more than a year when successful over course and distance last February.
Crest is gradually getting his act together over fences and is presented with a decent opportunity in the Kilsheelan Handicap Chase. Gordon Elliott's charge, not seen since his Christmas third behind Undressed and Georges Conn, possibly has most to fear from Final Gift, who went close at the same Patrickswell meeting over Christmas and now has first-time blinkers fitted. Maguire’s Glen and Shake It Up are also of interest.
Elliott and owners Gigginstown also combine with Double Scores, under Bryan Cooper, in the Slievenamon Rated Novice Chase. The eight-year-old, second at the Maze behind A Great View at the end of January, takes his chance in a trappy little heat, with Double Island and Dollar And A Dream both well capable of putting it up to him if recovering from last-start mishaps.
It could be a decent day for the Elliott-Gigginstown combination with Optimised stepping outside of maiden company for the first time in the Comeragh Handicap Hurdle on a lowly rating of 100. Highest Benefit and Itsallhappening are just two of the dangers in this 18-runner three-miler.
Elliott's title rival Willie Mullins sends just two runners across to the meeting, with Ruby Walsh booked for Sharps Choice in the opening maiden hurdle, and Patrick Mullins getting the leg-up on For Syl in the concluding mares’ bumper. Sharps Choice, beaten a head by Capital Force at Thurles three weeks ago, should justify odds-on over Veneziano Springs, whose third here a month ago behind All Nile and Moroval was a useful effort.
The bumper looks a warm little contest and For Syl would have plenty to find on the back of her debut run at Naas in January when a 10/1 chance and beaten over 60 lengths behind Borderline Chatho. Joseph O’Brien runs Alighting, a first time Gigginstown-owned half-sister to Don Poli. Firions Angel and Nicat’s Benefit are best of those that have raced.
Monbeg Chit Chat, another in the Gigginstown colours, has progressed with every run since arriving from the pointing field and Henry de Bromhead will be hoping his turn has come in the Lisronagh Maiden Hurdle. He’ll be another odds-on chance against Give Battle.
2.15 Sharps Choice
2.45 Monbeg Chit Chat
3.15 Peace N’ Milan (Dbl)
3.50 Optimised (Nap)
4.25 Double Scores
2.15 Veneziano Springs
2.45 Give Battle
3.15 Leila’s Island
3.50 Highest Benefit
4.25 Double Island
5.00 Maguire’s Glen
5.30 Firions Angel