LIPIZZANER remains a maiden after three starts for Aidan O’Brien but returns to the racetrack this Saturday afternoon in this five-furlong conditions race against five rivals.
After his second-place finish on debut at Naas, the two-year-old son of Uncle Mo returned to the same venue and finished in the same position when coming across Lucky Vega in a race which has worked out tremendously well since.
The winner took the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh for Jessica Harrington, with stable-mate Battleground (fifth) winning both the Chesham and Vintage Stakes’ afterwards in the UK.
Several other horses who finished down the field have since managed victories, including Laws Of Indices who secured the Railway Stakes for Ken Condon at the Curragh in July.
It’s excellent juvenile form which suggests Lipizzander can return from his Norfolk Stakes fourth behind The Lir Jet to secure victory here under jockey Seamie Heffernan.
Tar Heel finally got off the mark for the in-form Joseph O’Brien here last week and drops back a half a furlong, with both Coulthard and Blue Cabochon bringing some recent stakes form to the table.
The Michael O’Callaghan-trained Coulthard was third in the Round Tower Stakes, while Blue Cabochon for Fozzy Stack came third behind Frenetic in listed company and wears blinkers for the first time today.
The closing one-mile maiden at Navan doesn’t look the strongest of races on paper and I’m happy to once again side with the Dermot Weld-trained DARK PINE to finally get off the mark today.
The Moyglare-owned three-year-old ran some nice races last season behind Sinawann, Persia and Ten Year Ticket before returning to finish a good second in handicap company on his seasonal debut at Leopardstown in June.
However, he let myself and odds-on favourite backers down when getting turned over in what looked a very weak Dundalk maiden in July before finishing sixth back in Foxrock behind 300/1 winner He Knows No Fear last month.
He’s a tentative selection in an ordinary maiden with the hope Weld has worked some magic at Rosewell over the past three weeks to get him spot on today. Elsewhere, it’s interesting that Colin Keane is booked for Gavin Cromwell’s newcomer Battle Of Benburb, while Orderofretaliation could be the biggest danger also on debut for Fozzy Stack.
We all know this yard can ready one first time out and I’d suggest keeping a close eye on the betting market for any market move with Chris Hayes in the saddle.
Robin Des Sheikh is another with a lively chance having improved for his down the field run at Gowran Park behind Pugin to grab second at Dundalk three weeks ago.
Liz Doyle secured a double here last week at her local track and could strike again this Saturday with SILK WORM, now wearing a tongue-tie in this 2m 4f handicap hurdle.
The six-year-old has just been dropped 1lb in the ratings, but James Sullivan takes over 7lbs today, replacing jockey regular jockey Sean O’Keeffe. The lightly raced five-year-old drops slightly back in trip following her recent third place finishes at Ballinrobe and should get off the mark over hurdles in a contest with several question marks over her rivals.
Killinkere warrants some respect from the Gordon Elliott stable, but hasn’t been seen since racing here in July 2019 (a 407-day absence) from the racetrack. Rebel Waltzis the main danger to our selection, bringing a similar profile into this race having been placed in several recent starts for trainer Tom Nagle.
He wasn’t beaten far here last weekend but has been raised two-pounds for that effort, but jockey Ambrose McCurtin takes off five-pounds in the saddle today.
Pat Coyne looks the best of the rest with some recent up and down form and should reach the frame for trainer John Queally if bouncing back from his flop at Tramore in July.
In my opinion BLAZE A TRAIL won with a bit in hand last weekend and strike quickly again to give trainer Liz Doyle another winner this Saturday in the two-mile four-furlong handicap chase.
The six-year-old travelled and jumped well last weekend and can defy a rise in the ratings to strike while the iron is hot under jockey Sean O’Keeffe.
That victory gave Doyle at 40% strike-rate with her runners over fences here at her local track and it was an eye-catching improvement in form from the horse on his handicap debut over fences.
Da Ya Feel Lucky makes his handicap chase debut having outran his odds in a beginners chase at Killarney recently for trainer Harry Kelly, while Memory Tree is another making his first start in handicap company over fences for Paul Power.
Miracle In Medinah looked a promising type after his bumper victory at Fairyhouse, but never lived up to expectation over hurdles and also looks interesting going handicapping over the bigger obstacles today.
It would also be worth keeping an eye on both reserves, Railway Muice and The Broom Squire who cannot be discounted if managing to secure a place in the race.
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