Sweeney chasing rich prize
Rodger Sweeney is hopeful both Fiery Oscar and Shamiran can make their presence felt in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Galway.
Fiery Oscar won four successive races between February and May and carries the silks of the trainer's wife Joan, colours made famous by dual Foxhunter Chase winner Salsify. He will be ridden by Andrew Lynch. Shamiran, the mount of David Splaine, needs to step up on previous form, but is making just his second appearance for the team.
The trainer said: "Fiery Oscar has come on in leaps and bounds. Where else am I to go with him? He's rated 127 now and over hurdles anyway there aren't too many more places he can go.
"Shamiran has not been here that long. He needed the run that he had for us at Dundalk. He's a very tough horse and I'd hope he'll put in a big run. Hopefully they'll both run well as they both like a stamina test."
John O'Shea feels testing conditions will play to the strengths of his runner Novarov.
The trainer said: "The rain has come in time for him and he's in there with a nice racing weight (10st 10lb) with the top one (Carlito Brigante) staying in. He is a course winner and though he'd like a little bit further, the rain that has come will be a big help and he's in good form."
Dooney Rock is fitted with blinkers for the first time by trainer Michael McElhone.
The handler said: "He very laid-back and he's certainly more enthusiastic with them at home. He's as hard as nails but he's been hampered with niggly little injuries all along and he should have scored a lot more than the two goals he's scored. He's just had heaps of stuff to overcome."
There will not be a dry eye in the house if Sweet My Lord can deliver a poignant victory for the late Colm Murray. One of Ireland's best-known racing broadcasters, Murray passed away earlier this week at the age of 61 following a three-year battle against motor neurone disease.
Galway racegoers observed a minute's silence before the start of the Festival on Monday and now the Willie Mullins-trained Sweet My Lord, a horse part-owned by Murray, goes for victory in the feature on day six. He is one of four runners in the race for the champion trainer, with Security Breach, Balnaslow and Call Me Bubbles also in the line-up.