Rubi all set to have a ball with Ruby
The Irish debut of triple Grade One winner Rubi Ball adds a touch of glamour to what was already an intriguing card at Thurles today.
Willie Mullins usually has to spend big money on his precocious French imports but Rubi Ball is slightly different as he is an eight-year-old that has been sent to him for a change of scenery.
Conqueror of Gold Cup hero Long Run in an Auteuil Grade One in 2009, the son of Network has become frustrating since winning successive races at Pau in January of last year.
Today he tackles six rivals in the Rock Of Cashel Hurdle under Ruby Walsh, and receives 10lb from the three that would be considered his main dangers.
Given his class, you'd have to take a chance on him being sweet enough to exploit that concession.
Foildubh is probably Rubi Ball's chief threat.
John Ryan's Paul Carberry-ridden nine-year-old was a decent second to Time To Work in the Billecart-Salmon Handicap Hurdle at the Down Royal Festival earlier this month on his penultimate start and ran another sound race when fifth to Arvika Ligeonniere at Clonmel last time.
Walsh is also trusted to land the day's nap aboard Lord Of Lords in the concluding maiden hurdle.
A stylish bumper victor at Navan for Larne's Stuart Crawford in March 2012, he should be good enough for this testing assignment.