Dun Doire and Carberry on the trot
Sunday Fairyhouse and Tramore: After a vintage Christmas holiday period, Paul Carberry can kick 2006 off with a vengeance at Fairyhouse tomorrow where bookmakers could end up running very scared of Dun Doire in the handicap chase.
The Tony Martin-trained seven-year-old is on a four-timer after victories at Wetherby and Haydock, and then a return home at Navan earlier this month where Dun Doire scored an easy, two-length success over Ransboro.
Carberry's mount is 10lb higher in the ratings for that, but the step up to three miles-plus looks like it will be to Dun Doire's advantage.
He won over hurdles at the trip in Limerick last May and is also a former point-to-point winner, so the likes of Thursday's quirky Leopardstown scorer Heez A Wonder and Vicars Way look like they have a big task.
Carberry rode a very impressive winner at Leopardstown in Sweet Wake, and the Noel Meade team unveil another jumping newcomer in the opening maiden hurdle tomorrow.
Jazz Messenger is an ex-Alain de Royer Dupre and Ger Butler inmate, and was quite a smart performer on the flat. He is Carberry's choice for tomorrow's race and definitely looks one to keep an eye on.
Tony McCoy travels over for his boss JP McManus and teams up with Vedelle in a competitive looking maiden hurdle.
The likes of Classic Vic and Mattock Ranger are decent prospects, but there there is sure to be a lot of interest in Vedelle, who followed up a point-to-point win in Tinahely with a Fairyhouse bumper success last March. He looks a horse of some potential.
McCoy also teams up with Fox Point in the following handicap hurdle, and even though the six-year-old is 12lb higher than when winning at Wexford, he still looks to hold decent claims.
Paul Nolan's string are hitting a run of form, and Cuan Na Grai is an interesting contender in the bumper on the back of a very good second to Alexander Taipan at Punchestown last May.
The Sunday feature at Tramore is the €40,000 Wilf Dooly Chase and, significantly, Conor O'Dwyer makes the trip south for the ride on JP McManus's Kadoun.
Two of this horse's last three chase starts have come in the Irish Grand National, but the evidence of his eighth to Feathard Lady in what is turning out to be a very important piece of handicap hurdle form suggests Kadoun is ready to step up to the fencing plate again.
He has a clear ratings chance against the likes of the Aintree winner Garvivonnian and Mossy Green.
O'Dwyer will also wear the famous green and gold colours in the Beginners Chase on board New Field. It could be worth forgiving Macs Flamingo another chance, however, and ignoring a poor effort at Punchestown last time.
Compo threw away a winning chance at Limerick during the week when he fell at the last and allowed Coolnahilla in. If Eric McNamara's horse has recovered fully, he will hold a big chance in the handicap chase. But at the bottom of the scale Maristania looks like coming into form and may be better value.
Theatre Diva gets a lot of weight from Aleatory in the first maiden hurdle and You'vegotmerocking is preferred to Bonne Noel's in the second.