Luke set for a walk in park
JP McManus can have a good today tomorrow at Naas as Peoples Park and Nobel Emperor look prime candidates
There'll be plenty of chat around Gowran Park today and Naas tomorrow afternoon ahead of the Cheltenham Festival next week and punters will be doing their best to fill the coffers before the major betting week of the year gets under way on Tuesday.
Looking at the weekend and it's full of competitive handicaps or tricky conditions races but the JP McManus-owned Peoples Park looks to be one of the better options over the weekend when he runs in the Naas Supporters Handicap Hurdle.
This intriguing handicap hurdle looks like it could be dominated by those with lesser weight on their backs and after winning readily at the last meeting here, Misty Lady will surely prove a danger.
But it is Peoples Park, who won at Fairyhouse in November and Navan last month, who is given the nod to stick to winning ways on this occasion, especially with the in-form claimer Luke Dempsey, who has enjoyed a fruitful couple of weeks with five winners in a short space of time.
It's Leinster National Day at Naas on Sunday and having won the race last year Tony Martin could again hold the key with Living Next Door.
Martin is renowned for having his horses on the right side of the handicapper but after beating Foxrock in the Paddy Power Chase at Christmas, the nine-year-old is going to have defy top weight if he's going to win here.
It seems to be between himself and Grand National entry Owega Star and Living Next Door is picked to win again.
Martin and owner JP McManus could also land the Grade Three Naas Directors Plate with Noble Emperor who just met one too good in the Cheltenham-bound Very Wood last time out
Although this looks an interesting affair, with Azorian, Rule The World and Lots Of Memories, Noble Emperor himself is above average and can possibly warm up for some nice summer assignments by getting his head back in front.
Golantilla will be bidding to begin Tony Martin's day on a good note in the Irish Racing Writers Kingsfurze Novice Hurdle but recent course winner Phil's Magic may upset the odds for Sandra Hughes.
At Gowran Park this afternoon Willie Mullins and his son Patrick look likely to send favourite backers home happy with Prince De Beauchene the obvious choice in the prestigious Tetratema Hunters Chase and Yorkhill, a point-to-point winner at Tattersalls last December, should take the bumper.
Also today, there will be Irish representation in Dubai with 2014 Horse of the Year Sole Power contesting the Group Threee Meydan Sprint Sponsored By Arabian Adventures ahead of his big engagement out there at the end of the month.
Sole Power is a leading hope to return to winning ways with Richard Hughes retaining the partnership and he's not the only Irish runner out there with David Marnane running Elleval in the Group One Jebel Hatta.
Meanwhile, as expected, Foxrock proved to be the biggest supplemented entry of the week when he appeared on the list of possible runners in Thursday's Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
The Ted Walsh-trained Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up was under consideration for a tilt at the Gold Cup but connections feel that the experience of the Ryanair Chase will stand him well for a possible Gold Cup journey next season.