Denis Hogan is hoping Moyhenna can gain reward in the Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan after two game but luckless efforts this autumn.
The eight-year-old mare just failed by a nose to catch Cabaret Queen in the Kerry National at Listowel, and was fourth in the Munster National at Limerick – where conditions did not suit.
Her efforts in those two competitive staying handicaps have not gone unnoticed by the handicapper, who has raised her 4lb. In response, Hogan has booked 7lb claimer Shane Mulcahy for the ride on Sunday.
“She had her comeback run at Ballinrobe, improved and went to the Kerry National – and we were very unlucky there – but she ran a massive race and hopefully she can reproduce that.” said the County Tipperary trainer.
“We’ve decided to claim 7lb off her, because she got put up 4lb for her run in the Kerry. It brings us more into it, and Shane has been riding very well and knows her very well. With his claim into account, she should have a squeak.”
Hogan would like the ground to be on the soft side to help Moyhenna’s cause.
“She ran a very good race in the Munster National, but we had no luck with the ground. It dried out a bit too much,” he said.
“We needed it a bit softer, and they missed out a fence after a faller, and Donagh (Meyler) said we could have done with that fence being in all the time.
“Hopefully the forecast is right, and she’ll put up a good show.”
Owner JP McManus throws five darts at the prize – Fitzhenry, Scoir Mear, Portmore Lough, Minella Till Dawn and Triplicate.
His racing manager Frank Berry summed up their chances.
“Fitzhenry ran well in the race last year and he had a nice run over hurdles at Tipperary, so he should strip a bit fitter. It’s a competitive race, but we’re hoping for a good run,” he said.
“Scoir Mear won nicely at Wexford. He won’t mind the ground and he’s in good form.
“Portmore Lough was a little unlucky in the Munster National. He’s gone up a few pounds, but it’s an open race. John Kiely (trainer) is happy with him, and we’re hoping for a good run.
“It is Minella Till Dawn’s first run back. Hopefully he will come on and improve. He needs to.
“Triplicate needs to improve, but (trainer) Joseph (O’Brien) is happy with him and says he’s improved since Galway – so we hope he’ll run a nice race.”
Matthew Smith is looking forward to giving Ronald Pump his first run of the season in the Grade Two Lismullen Hurdle.
The smart dual-purpose performer was last seen finishing second in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
“He’s ready to start back,” said Smith.
“He ran a cracker at Cheltenham. We were delighted with him and we’re going to stick to the hurdles for the minute.
“It’s a nice starting point, a decent-looking race. He’ll probably come on for the run, but he’s in good form and he’s ready to go.”
The McManus team are doubly represented with the Gordon Elliott-trained Sire Du Berlais and Tower Bridge, from O’Brien’s stable.
“Gordon is happy with Sire Du Berlais,” said Berry.
“He’s in good form, but it’s his first run back. We’re hoping he’ll run a nice race.
“It’s nice to get him started.”
This is very much a confidence mission for Grade One-winning novice hurdler Tower Bridge, after he was pulled up on his last two runs over fences.
“He hasn’t been the luckiest over fences and he had a few little issues there and a bit of bad luck,” added Berry.
“He looks out of his depth but hopefully it will give him a bit of confidence.”
Pat Fahy sees the Grade Two Tote Fortria Chase as a good starting point for Castlegrace Paddy, despite the presence of Ryanair Chase third A Plus Tard.
The nine-year-old makes his seasonal debut at the scene of his course-and-distance victory in the Grade Two Webster Cup Chase in March.
“It’s a tough task with A Plus Tard in the race,” said County Carlow trainer Fahy.
“It’s his first run of the season. There’ll be plenty of improvement to come.
“He’s in tremendous form. Bryan Cooper worked him the other day and he loved him. We’re going there very happy.
“It’s a lovely starting point, a lovely track with lovely fences – and top man on board.”