©Healy Racing Photos
Roaring Bull and Sharjah will engage in what promises to be an intriguing battle in the Join Gowran Park Racing Club Novice Hurdle at Gowran Park today.
Gordon Elliott'sRoaring Bull was a surprise winner of a Punchestown Festival bumper last spring and justified cramped odds on his seasonal reappearance and hurdling bow at Tipperary last month.
Having shown useful form on the level in France, the Willie Mullins-trained Sharjah made his Irish debut over this course and distance and looked yet another smart recruit for the champion trainer as he put his rivals to the sword without being fully extended.
Joseph O'Brien saddles Cork scorer Shady Operator, as well as the unraced Paris Texas, while Robbie McNamara's Epsilon Indi completes a five-strong field.
Elliott's Kuraka is likely to be a warm order in the opening Thanks To All Our Customers 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.
The son of Cacique found only exciting juvenile Espoir D'Allen too strong on his jumping introduction at Down Royal and looks to have been given a fine opportunity to go one better.
The I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle stages another Elliott-Mullins clash, with the two powerhouse stables represented by Minellafordollars and Carter McKay respectively.< Minellafordollars won a point-to-point and a bumper last season, while Carter McKay looked top-class in winning his first two bumpers before fluffing his lines in the championship events in that sphere at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
O'Brien's Mortal is not out of it having shown promise on his hurdling debut a fortnight ago.
Peter Fahey's Roja Dove bids to follow up a recent Fairyhouse success in the Cathy O'Farrell AIRO Winner 2017 Mares Handicap Hurdle, while Monbeg Notorious (Elliott) and Tin Soldier (Mullins) both kick off their careers over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.
The Irish Racing Yearbook Handicap Chase concludes the seven-race card and leading owner JP McManus is triple-handed with Concordin, Dont Kick Nor Bite and Shantou Ed all in contention.