The charismatic Dancing Tornado bids to bounce back to his old self when he lines up in the feature race at Thurles today; the Irish Jockeys Association Hurdle..
Trained in Patrickswell County Limerick by Michael Hourigan, Dancing Tornado is admittedly pushing on in years but the application of first time blinkers might be just the trick to see the 11-year-old bounce back to winning ways. Rated as high as 146 over fences, his current mark of 138 over hurdles is a very feasible one. The pick of his form has to be his second to Little Josh in the 2010 Paddy Power Gold Cup and although that was two years ago, if he was to run to anything like that form he would take all the beating in this contest. The talented Mark Walsh takes the mount and with Michael Hourigan in cracking form (a double at Limerick on Sunday) Dancing Tornado is a hopeful selection. His main opposition should come from previous Cheltenham Festival winner Berties Dream, Willie Mullins’ mare Maggie Connolly and Adams Island, the mount of Barry Geraghty.
Action kicks off at 4.15 and the first of a seven race card should go to way of Davy Russell and Der Spieler who is miles clear of his rivals on official ratings.
Willie Mullins seems to have found the perfect opportunity for his mare Shifa in the second race, the Cashel Beginners Steeplechase where she takes on nine rivals.
Spot Fine ran well in defeat when last seen at Naas in February and he should take a lot of beating in the third race, the Bavaria Beer Maiden Hurdle. Old Laxey, Super Sonic Boom and Coral Creek rate the main dangers in this contest.
Lord Gale has been crying out for a step-up in trip and Willie Mullins has finally allowed him to take his chance in a three-mile event when he lines up in the fifth race, the Arch Bar Maiden Hurdle. A very useful performer in bumpers, Lord Gale has also run very well in three maiden hurdles behind useful sorts. The step-up to three-miles is right up his street and he should have too much in reserve foe the Charles Byrnes trained Shrapnel who doesn’t look an easy ride.
The final two races look very competitive events and it would be well worth keeping a close eye on the betting markets in both contests. Piper Hill made a very pleasing debut when just under five-lengths behind the impressive Jezki at Leopardstown. With normal improvement, he should take beating in the concluding contest