All eyes will be on Rathvinden
On a rather modest Thursday card, the Grand National third RATHVINDEN (12.40, Clonmel) is easily the most interesting horse on show in Ireland today.
The Willie Mullins-trained runner reverts to hurdles for the Jim Strang & Sons Kilsheelan (Peugeot) Hurdle and his seasonal debut should yield a win in the hands of Paul Townend.
Grade One winner The Storyteller is another who switches to hurdles for this pre-Christmas assignment, but there is a chance that Rathvinden's biggest danger could be stable companion Class Conti if he can find his best form.
Mullins will team up with his son Patrick for the concluding Next Meeting Thursday January 9th Maiden Hurdle for amateur riders and SAINT ROI (3.30, Clonmel) must make appeal.
Making his Irish debut in the colours of JP McManus, Saint Roi could be anything emerging from those quarters and the market is likely to speak volumes here.
The McManus colours will earlier be carried by Mark Walsh on STEER CLEAR (2.55, Clonmel) in the Club Stand Restaurant Handicap Chase.
The top weight on this occasion was unlucky not to win last time out in the Ladies National at Fairyhouse and fought back at the finish having fluffed his lines at the last fence. A repeat of that effort here should be enough for trainer Padraig Roche.
The Clonmel Supporters Club Beginners Chase has been divided to make an eight-race card with the Ted Walsh-trained BATCIO (1.45, Clonmel) appearing to have the potential to win a race of this nature, while in the second division BITSANDPIECES (2.20, Clonmel) has Simon Torrens' valuable 7lb claim off his back.
With eight races to be decided, the first is off at 11.40am and a tentative vote there goes to MILLEN TO ONE (11.40, Clonmel) for Fran Flood and Mark Walsh.
11.40 Millen To One
12.10 Bee A Beneficiary
1.10 Capture The Action
2.55 Steer Clear
3.30 Saint Roi