Taaffe's Argocat looks the pick


RACING:Champion jockey Davy Russell skips Leopardstown in favour of a trip to Limerick and three St Stephen’s Day rides for his Gigginstown Stud boss Michael O’Leary.

The Ryanair chief’s colours are carried by both Far Away So Close and Tillahow in a five-runner Grade Two Greenmount Park Novice Chase that has cut up quite significantly. Russell has elected to stick with the course and distance winner Far Away So Close and the banner name will be Mikael d’Haguenent who finally got off the mark over fences earlier this month.

However, Limerick’s €37,500 festival highlight could eventually end up going to another course and distance winner in Argocat who receives a vital allowance for being the sole four-year-old in the race. Even at his young age, Tom Taaffe has been anticipating sending Argocat over fences for some time and after winning here earlier in the season, he found only Twinlight too good for him at Galway last time.


That will leave the Mikael D’Haguenet team aware of where they stand with Argocat in form terms but despite beating Lord Windermere at Punchestown, it has proved expensive following ‘Mikael’ over fences and it will be Emmet Mullins’ first time riding him over the big obstacles.

Andrew McNamara will be on board Argocat who doesn’t have much to find on Mikael D’Haguenet in terms of ratings and crucially looks to have a progressive profile over fences.

Shattered Dream is another Gigginstown ride for Russell in the first of the maiden hurdles but Jimmy Mangan’s Kilcrea might be a tough nut to crack in that.

However, Russell’s presence at Limerick on board Umpact in an intriguing opener will be significant for many. The French bumper winner won well on his Irish debut at Gowran and gets weight from some decent rivals. While Loch Ard hasn’t run since the summer the Mullins runner does boast a particularly eye-catching piece of form on heavy ground when hammering Un Beau Matin to the tune of 33 lengths at Punchestown.

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