Gibney so sweet on Nutcracker prospects back on favourite stage
Monroe's Live Mares Handicap Hurdle | 2m½f, 4yo+ | ATR
Time for more ballet at Ballinrobe. The Nutcracker is back on her favourite stage and she will attempt to dance her way to glory in this valuable mares' hurdle for the third year on the trot.
Successful in 2015 off a mark of 106, she struck again 12 months later off a 17lb higher rating with a gutsy triumph over Isabella Liberty. Now she tries to complete the hat-trick off 125 and, judging by her encouraging comeback at Killarney earlier this month, such a feat is not out of the question.
Bidding for a slightly different hat-trick in this €30,000 contest is Tellthemnuttin from the Willie Codd stable, who was successful on her last two starts at Wexford and Down Royal.
The second of those arrived just three days ago by a winning margin of ten lengths and her trainer is trying to strike while the iron is hot.
Clonmel maiden hurdle winner Chambord Du Lys was second in a hot handicap against the boys last time at Killarney and she will not be a big price back against her own sex with the champion trainer-jockey combination of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh teaming up.
Mullins making hay
Willie Mullins hit the bullseye with five of the 11 darts he threw at Ballinrobe last season - that is an impressive 45 per cent success rate.
What they say
Willie Codd, trainer of Tellthemnuttin
We might be mad running her under a 10lb penalty but it's a mares' only handicap hurdle worth a lot of money so nothing ventured, nothing gained. It might be a bit short for her but she seems to have come out of Down Royal in great shape and I thought it was worth having a stab.
Tom Gibney, trainer of The Nutcracker
It's a hot race and probably hotter than the last two years when she won. She's in great form, though, and will come on a lot for her run at Killarney. I was absolutely delighted with her there. We're hopeful of another big run. She loves the place.
Denis Hogan, trainer of My Painter
It's a tidy race but she has a nice weight and I think she has a small squeak. It's terrific prize-money and it would be nice to pick up some of it!
Seamus Fahey, trainer of Is She Diesel
She's in good form. Her owner lives locally and he's always anxious to have runners at the track. She did not jump the first three hurdles well last time, but she has schooled well since and we think that she has definitely improved in that department.