aquam is chip off old block
IT is unusual at this time of year to be looking at some heavyweight jump horses in action but the Grade Three Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary tomorrow has attracted a high class field of eight runners.
Willie Mullins is double handed in the €65,000 contest and Ruby Walsh has somewhat surprisingly opted for Diakali over Thousand Stars as Diakali is set to have his first run in over a year.
The one time high class juvenile hurdler was progressing nicely through the ranks and was placed in good company on his last few runs but he has been off the track since finishing fourth in the French Champion Hurdle 13-months ago.
Walsh has opted for him over last months French Champion Hurdle runner-up Thousand Stars who ran a blinder to finish second under Katie Walsh although the quick ground may not prove to be ideal for him tomorrow afternoon.
Gordon Elliott has his team of horses in absolutely terrific form of late and he too is set to have two runners in the race with Bryan Cooper riding the 148-rated Taglietelle and Elliott has booked Barry Geragthy for the 151-rated Bayan.
Tomorrow's Tipperary fixture is a mixed card and also features the listed Excelebration Tipperary Stakes for two-year-olds which also has a field of eight set to go to post.
Colin Keane takes over from Newmarket bound Pat Smullen on the Eddie Lynam trained Promised Money, while the David Wachman trained Independence Day is a likely favourite after a nice winning performance at Down Royal to open his account.
Sticking with the jumping sphere however and at Leopardstown last night Shark Hanlon's stable star Hidden Cyclone warmed nicely up for the Galway Festival with a facile win in the closing Leopardstown Club Membership Maiden over 1m7f.
Hanlon has the Galway Hurdle at the top of his agenda for Hidden Cyclone and he will now go straight to Ballybrit after winning comfortably under Patrick Mullins.
Hanlon said; "He'll go straight for the Galway Hurdle now. It's been the plan for three years but two years ago he got hurt and last year he tore the leg off himself at Punchestown.
"Hopefully he's alright in the morning - I walked the track before as I was afraid of my life and if there had been firm in it he wouldn't have run.
"That'll leave him spot on for Galway. Please God he'll get there safe and sound. Patrick (Mullins) said after they turned out of the back, it was all over as he was travelling so easily."