Laurina looks a likely sort
Gowran Park must survive an 8.0am inspection this morning before getting the green light for some fascinating races.
With the ground already described as heavy, conditions are sure to be testing but punters will be hoping to witness the match between Cheltenham Festival winner Minella Indo and LAURINA (2.45, Gowran Park).
Minella Indo will be on many short lists for the season ahead and there's no doubt that he could develop into a real contender for something like the RSA Chase. But on this occasion the Champion Hurdle fourth Laurina is picked to come out on top.
Laurina lost her unbeaten record for Mullins in the Champion Hurdle when finishing over 16 lengths behind Espoir D'allen, but that run can be forgiven and with a clear round here the six-year-old can make the most of her mares' allowance.
The feature race of the afternoon is the Talbot Hotel Carlow Chase in which cases can be made for all five of the runners.
It may prove to be something of a step too far at this stage for Castlebrook, but each of the others will go into the race expecting a big run and GETABIRD (2.10, Gowran Park) is a tentative choice.
A runner-up in a Grade One at Limerick last Christmas, Getabird failed to live up to all expectations last season but a repeat of his best form should see him oblige.
If racing does go ahead today it'll be an early start with the Timmy Maher Memorial 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle due off at 11.50am and DINARD ROSE (11.50, Gowran Park) can make her hurdling experience count for Noel Meade.
The form of Dinard Rose's debut over flights got a boost last weekend when Sacchoandvanzetti won again at Punchestown and it looks a solid level of form.
Noel Meade could go on to complete a double then with SIXSHOOTER (1.00, Gowran Park) in the Ladbrokes Novice Hurdle.
The Gigginstown-owned runner is declared again for Navan tomorrow but this looks the easier assignment and it would be a surprise if the Punchestown maiden winner doesn't maintain his unbeaten record at this juncture.
Simon Torrens takes a valuable 7lbs off IKNOWWHEREIAMNOW (1.35, Gowran Park) and the drop back to two miles may see her land the Connolly's Topline Bagnalstown Mares Handicap Hurdle.
GOWRAN PARK TODAY
11.50 Dinard Rose
12.25 Midnight LIGHTNING
3.15 Kavanaghs Corner