Riven Light bidding to land another valuable Flat prize for Mullins
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ragusa Handicap | 3yo+ | 1m4f | ATR
Willie Mullins has done well on the Flat with hurdlers and is hoping Riven Light, who has so far disappointed over hurdles, will show more on his first Flat start for his Closutton yard in this valuable handicap, the richest prize on the opening stage of the three-day Irish Derby meeting.
Twice successful on the Flat when trained in France, Riven Light, who failed to add to his 12-length maiden hurdle win at Thurles in December, will be making his handicap debut on his first Flat start since September 2015.
Ger Lyons and Tony Martin are double-handed in the €29,500 event. The former is represented by Mawaany, who met trouble in running when bidding for a hat-trick at Cork on his most recent start and Sandstorming, who won over 1m2f at Cork last month, while Martin runs Landsman and Sweet Company.
The Jarlath Fahey-trained Sea The Lion, up 8lb for his victory over 1m5f at Navan early this month, is the most recent winner in the 14-runner line-up while Spruce Meadows, runner-up over the trip on his last two starts, represents Johnny Feane.
Jim Bolger, who last won the race with Wexford Town three years ago, runs Tipstaff who was third in a Listed contest last season and makes his seasonal reappearance. Running in his first handicap, the son of Street Cry wears cheekpieces for the first time.
What they say
Willie Mullins, trainer of Riven Light
He's been disappointing over hurdles and we're just hoping that switching him back to the Flat might bring about improvement. He's well.
Sheila Lavery, trainer of Mandamus
If he can progress from his Leopardstown win, then he should run a very good race. The ground should suit and he's in good form.
Johnny Feane, trainer of Spruce Meadows
He's in fabulous form and we're expecting a big run. There's rain forecast but that shouldn't matter as we think he's adaptable in terms of ground.
Tony Martin, trainer of Landsman and Sweet Company
Landsman ran very well at Fairyhouse when reverting from hurdles on his most recent start. He's in good order and we're looking forward to a good run. Sweet Company has had a run over hurdles since he last ran on the Flat and we're happy with him, too.
Michael O'Callaghan, trainer of Act Of Valour
He's a progressive sort. Pat Smullen has ridden him a couple of times and thinks a step up to a mile and a half should be right up his street.
Jarlath Fahey, trainer of Sea The Lion
He's been in very good form since his Navan win. We had to take him out at Cork due to the ground getting too fast but conditions should be fine for him this time. We're expecting a very good run.