Mozoltov can make up for lost time at Fairyhouse
Leading jockeys could end up dashing to Fairyhouse if Tramore fails inspection
Mozoltov can make up for lost time at Fairyhouse on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho
The odds on a major Sunday jockey shuffle at Fairyhouse should Tramore fail to pass a Saturday inspection are a lot shorter than the “50-50” which the Co Waterford track is rated to get a green light.
Fairyhouse hosts the first six-figure prize of 2016 in the €100,000 Underwriting Exchange Dan Moore Handicap Chase but as things stands many of the country’s top riders – including Ruby Walsh, Bryan Cooper and Davy Russell – are due to spend their Sunday in Tramore instead.
A €30,000 Listed prize, in which three of the five runners are Grade One winners, is the Tramore feature but there is again considerable doubt about the card going ahead.
“I would put it down as 50-50. We’re having a dry bright day but there’s very little drying in it and there is some rain forecast in the evening,” the course manager, Sue Phelan, said.
“We’re going to give it every chance, although we’re holding the inspection early [2pm] to give lads an opportunity to re-route if necessary.”
Potentially having Messrs Cooper and Walsh re-routing to Fairyhouse means more than a few of their weigh-room colleagues will be having their fingers crossed for Tramore as well. The former French champion jockey Jacques Ricou has yet to ride a winner on his Irish sojourn to date and is on the topweight, Clarcam, among three Gigginstown Stud runners in the big handicap prize.
Last year’s runner up Bright New Dawn is back for another crack, while perhaps 19-year- old rider David Mullins will be the jockey most hoping Cooper stays away as he is due to team up with the enigmatic Mozoltov.
Willie Mullins hardly eased the 10-year-old back into action after a long layoff when “twisting Michael O’Leary’s arm” and sending Mozoltov to Cheltenham for last month’s big handicap won by Village Vic.
An 8/1 starting price indicated there was plenty confidence in Mozoltov’s chances too, although the reality was ultimately underwhelming as the Irish raider was tailed off almost from the start and was afterwards reported to have suffered an overreach.
Mullins also has Tennis Cap in a race he won with Turban in 2014. Turban ultimately won easily, but not as easily as Mallowney scored last year with a 10-length saunter that subsequently saw him hiked 12lbs by the handicapper and subsequently graduate to Grade Two success.
Mozoltov already has a Grade Two win and can boast a chase defeat of Mallowney, as well as a hurdling victory over Don Cossack in the Moscow Flyer Hurdle three years ago.
If that latent quality is still intact – and the thinking behind that Cheltenham raid indicates it could well be – then it could be decisive in again turning an ostensibly competitive handicap into a good opportunity for a quality performer.
Maiden David Mullins is Gigginstown’s pick too for the Grade
One-winning hurdler, McKinley, in a Beginners Chase, which also includes the former point-to- point winner Alisier d’Irlande. Kennedy will ride Tocororo in the juvenile maiden.
Should the weather tip the odds in Tramore’s favour Roi Du Mee can secure an Attheraces Chase victory for the third time after previous wins in 2015 and 2013.
The top north of England- based rider Brian Hughes is due to ride the former Durkan hero Rubi Light, while Ballycasey is set for a first start of the season. On official figures, he and Roi Du Mee are hard to split but Willie Mullins’s grey has been hugely disappointing since his early novice days.
De Plotting Shed is another Gordon Elliott runner who can get the better of a Mullins rival in the maiden hurdle.