Rubi ripe to confirm Festival credentials
Robbie Hennessy's Rubi Light will attempt to defend his Red Mills Chase crown this afternoon as he faces four rivals for the 2m4f contest.
Rathgar Beau was the last horse to win the Gowran Park feature back to back, and Rubi Light is a short-priced favourite to emulate him.
The Grade One John Durkan Chase winner has been sent down the same route as last year by Hennessy who will be hoping for a clear and uneventful round from the seven-year-old before heading for the Ryanair Chase next month at Cheltenham.
Apt Approach appears the biggest threat, but expect Rubi Light to confirm his Cheltenham credentials.
Willie Mullins amazingly hasn't won the Red Mills Hurdle at his local track since 2000 when Balla Sola scored under Conor O'Dwyer, but he will surely end that lengthy wait with Zaidpour in this afternoon's renewal.
Progressive Kalann may be the one to follow him home, but Zaidpour is far superior on ratings and won't be beaten.
The same connections of Mullins, Paul Townend and owners Rich and Suzannah Ricci will unleash French import Shamar in the Shantou At Burgage Stud Maiden Hurdle.
The four-year-old is a dual winner in France on the flat and the vibes are good that he will make a winning Irish debut.
Proceedings get underway with an interesting beginners' chase and Ballyadam Brook makes his return following a 464 day absence, and while he's probably the classiest of the 18 runners, he is this time tentatively overlooked in favour of Ballyburke.
Take a chance that Philip Rothwell's seven-year-old opens his account over fences.
Impressive Navan winner Oscar Dan Dan is just about the pick in the handicap chase, which looks one of the most competitive races on the card, while in the handicap hurdle Paco Jack gets the nod.
1.35 Ballyburke, 2.05 Rubi Light, 2.40 Oscar Dan Dan, 3.15 Zaidpour, 3.50 Shamar, 4.25 Paco Jack, 4.55 Undone.