herald

Friday 15 December 2017

tank gunning for big glory

Connell: Everything has gone according to plan

OWNER Barry Connell has high hopes for The Tullow Tank in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse tomorrow.

The six-year-old, trained by Sandra Hughes, was a talented hurdler last season and created a good impression over the bigger obstacles when winning on this course four weeks ago.

"We're very happy with him. It's been his target ever since he came back from grass this summer. Everything's gone according to plan," said Connell.

"He had a nice prep run in Fairyhouse and beat a highly-rated horse in Mala Beach. He worked well this week so everything's in order and we're expecting a big run.

"It's a Grade One, so you'd expect it to be a strong race. There are a couple of other horses with good credentials, but I think we are probably the best of the horses with hurdle form from last year.

"He seems to be equally effective over jumps. We're happy with him and expecting a good performance."

Patrick Mullins is looking forward to a Grade One ride over fences when he partners Perfect Gentleman, one of three runners from his father Willie's stable.

"I've ridden in a few Grade One hurdles on Cousin Vinny but this will be my first over fences," said the amateur rider.

"I think he's improved for the switch to fences, but whether he is up to this class we'll see.

"Hopefully he can get some prize money. I'm looking forward to it."

Valseur Lido enjoyed an easy victory on his fencing bow at Punchestown two weeks ago and is the choice of jockey Bryan Cooper from four runners for Gigginstown House Stud.

"He's sort of sneaked under the radar a little bit, probably because he had one bad run at Cheltenham, but we're prepared to forgive him that," said Mullins junior.

"Other than that he's only been beaten by Faugheen and I know that Bryan (Cooper) was really excited by his jumping the last time.

"I think we've all got The Tullow Tank to beat, though."

Mullins' stable jockey Ruby Walsh is aboard Alechi Inois, who notched a five-timer over fences from May to October before being pulled up on his latest start at Punchestown two weeks ago after making a bad mistake.

"It's all about good ground for him. It's been dry over here for the past couple of days, though, so I don't think the ground is soft which should help," said Mullins junior.

"Whether he's a Grade One horse we have our doubts, but he deserves to take his chance."

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