Pandorama to pass soft test
The ground will definitely be on the soft side for the opening session of the two-day Punchestown fixture this afternoon when the inside track is being utilised for the first lap of the four hurdles events.
Following these contests, the welcome reappearance of Noel Meade's Pandorama in the Christmas Parties Beginners Chase is bound to prove the main attraction, with the former champion trainer's horses in fine form.
Meade's senior stable jockey Paul Carberry is, predictably, also back in action after last Thursday's Thurles tumble with the prospect of another rewarding campaign aboard Pandorama very much on the cards.
The Flemensfirth gelding, which goes particularly well on a testing surface, has won five of his six starts to date, losing out only to the high-class Mikael D'Haguenet at Navan and then benefiting last February from the final-flight exit of Cousin Vinnie in the Deloitte Hurdle at Leopardstown.
While his former stable companion Mick The Man, Oligarch Society and Clan Tara should combine to make it a fairly competitive affair, Pandorama is a confident choice to resume where he left off at Leopardstown.
Rather less successful last season when admittedly seldom having luck on his side, Psycho may likewise be up to winning first time out this term with Ruby Walsh booked for the Go Racing In Kildare Hurdle. Meade introduces French import Rahan De Marcigny here in the JP McManus colours and Tony McCoy comes over for the occasion to add spice to a race that also features Beau Michael, Silver Jaro and Healys Bar. Barry Geraghty can notch his 1,000th winner on Jessica Harrington’s Hugo De Vindecy in the second maiden hurdle.
The first can go to local rider Niall Madden and the Mouse Morris yard courtesy of The Hurl, which produced a career-best run here a fortnight ago when just outstayed by Blazing Beacon.