Surin caught the eye when scoring well last time out, so is taken to confirm Naas form with Gardens Of Babylon in the feature race at Limerick on Sunday – the 2m Grade 3 Irish Independent Hurdle for four-year-olds (13:45).
Trained by Gordon Elliott for owners Gigginstown House Stud, this Authorized mare stayed on strongly for a commanding 7 1/2 lengths success.
Surin is now two from four against Gardens Of Babylon. Although now 3lb worse off at the weights, she has put her best foot forward on the softer surface the pair encounter here.
The re-opposing JP McManus owned and Joseph O’Brien trained gelding has only won on good going, so that is a plus for Surin.
She is two from two on soft and heavy, and the form of her Fishery Lane Hurdle win in this grade was advertised by the fourth home. Tiger Tap Tap has come out and won at Naas over further.
Surin also has a victory at a longer trip, so stamina and the testing ground are no problem.
In these conditions, she simply appeals more in the Irish Independent Hurdle at 9/4 with Betway than old rival Gardens Of Babylon.
Franco De Port and Soviet Pimpernel alternatives in Irish Independent Hurdle
The main danger is Willie Mullins’ Franco De Port – a dual scorer on heavy.
A typical French import to his Closutton stables, this Coastal Path gelding beat Fred going away by 13 lengths at Auteuil before joining the County Carlow handler.
As the runner-up has since won a novice hurdle on King George day at Kempton, the form has a solid look to it. Franco De Port then followed-up on debut for Mullins at Gowran Park last month.
After settling off the leaders in fourth, he improved before three out and disputed affairs approaching the last. Franco De Port then stayed on well to beat Cayd Boy by 5 1/2 lengths.
The second had won his last two. Sixshooter, who was a further couple of lengths behind in third, landed his previous three – beating The Big Getaway and Soviet Pimpernel in bumpers.
That makes Franco De Port of obvious interest at 11/8 with Betfred for the Irish Independent Hurdle. With Paul Townend again in the saddle, a bold bid looks assured.
Soviet Pimpernel is on the downgrade, meanwhile. Trained by Peter Fahey, he’s a bumper and Gowran Park maiden hurdle winner who ran a fine race in defeat in a competitive four-year-old event at Cheltenham.
This Elusive Pimpernel gelding was beaten by just three-quarters of a length by Quel Destin. The winner was a Grade 1 scorer as a juvenile, so that reads well in the context of this.
Soviet Pimpernel was also far from disgraced when sixth to Envoi Allen in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
He was beaten 20 lengths and the runner-up, Abadcadabras, has since won a Grade 1 at Leopardstown.
This is easier, so Soviet Pimpernel is one to consider each-way at 7/1 with Paddy Power here.