Richard Mann previews an interesting day of racing with a couple of young Alan King-trained hurdlers of particular interest and Supreme Racing Club taking on the big boys in Ireland.
King hurdlers set the pulse racing
Alan King has housed some wonderful young hurdlers at his Barbury Castle base over the years, with Penzance's victory in the 2005 running of the Triumph Hurdle the first clear indication of his training talents.
Katchit followed the same path two years later, storming up the famous Prestbury Park hill before returning 12 months on to win the Champion Hurdle with a game and gutsy display that summed up his terrific attitude.
Redicean looked to be the latest chip off the old block last season but couldn't quite reach the heights expected of him and the baton now passes over to the likes of Elysees and Shannon Hill.
Elysees is smartly bred - a son of that excellent staying sire Champs Elysees who has been responsible for the last two Cesarewitch winners - but this three-year-old could only manage a couple of wins on the Flat.
Nevertheless, like so many of the progeny, he looks to be improving with time and a stiffer test of stamina and, following a promising hurdling introduction at Chepstow, he won in fine style at Warwick last week.
He clearly needs more experience, hence a quick reappearance in the JELF Insurance Brokers Juvenile Hurdle at Ludlow (3.30), and it will be fascinating to see how far King can take this exciting young hurdler.
Earlier on the same card, Shannon Hill bids to to maintain his unbeaten record in the Racing UK HD Introductory Hurdle (2.25).
An impressive winner of a point-to-point back in the spring, he was backed as if defeat was out the question prior to making a successful NH debut at Stratford recently and is another who could have a very bright future indeed.
Big boys beware at Clonmel
The Clonmel Oil Chase has a fair roll of honour - Sizing Europe was a fine winner back in 2012 - and all the conquering Gigginstown House Stud have taken two of the last three renewals.
Alpha Des Obeaux and stablemate A Toi Phil dominated proceedings last year but in Kemboy, that pair might just meet their match 12 months on.
A fine stamp of a horse who was a smart novice hurdler, chasing has always promised to be his game and it has therefore come as no surprise to see him excel since switched to the larger obstacles.
Willie Mullins' charge took his record over fences to 3-6 when bagging a pair of decent prizes at Limerick and Punchestown back in the spring and there is every reason to expect further improvement this term as matures into his six-year-old frame.
Perhaps the most interesting narrative to today's race is that, for once, Mullins doesn't rely on Rich Ricci or Sullivan Bloodstock to try and take down the Gigginstown battalion.
This time it is the likeable and equally impressive Supreme Horse Racing Club who take on the big boys.
Supreme Racing and its 600 wildly enthusiastic members have certainly enjoyed plenty of big-race success since the club was formed by Steve Massey and Jim Balfry - Airlie Beach and Avant Tout to name a couple - but in Kemboy they might just have a horse to take them to the next level.
Kemboy is the sort of horse any owner would love to own. A slick jumper with an wonderful attitude, he is now the highest-rated horse Supreme Racing Club have been associated with and the type you need when going into war against a racing superpower.
At a time when Irish racing has become dominated by the Ricci's and the Gigginstown's of seemingly another world - worryingly so it has to be said - Supreme Racing Club are in there pitching for the working man.
They've certainly come a long way since Supreme Carolina handed them their first winner at Listowel back in 2011 and with Kemboy and Mullins in the trenches for them at Clonmel on Thursday, maybe they can pull off another notable success.