A good looking fillies’ maiden over one mile gets the action underway at Gowran Park on Saturday with several top owners and trainers represented, including Aidan O’Brien with my selection LA JOCONDE.
This daughter of Frankel cost 850,000 guineas at Tattersalls and was very green on debut in a Cork maiden which has worked out well since.
She learned a lot on that occasion and stayed on nicely at her own pace to finish fifth under Mick Hussey behind the Dermot Weld-trained winner Emaniya.
The fourth horse, stablemate Divinely boosted the from with victory in the Group 3 Flame of Tara, with the second home April Showers winning a maiden at Navan last month.
Elsewhere, Cartouche also runs for the Aidan O’Brien team following her fourth place finish on debut at Dundalk in mid-August and she has the services of jockey Seamie Heffernan, who has chosen to ride on Saturday.
Talacre has the best form having been placed on all three starts for Ger Lyons, who took this race last year with Even So, while Cork second Boyne River and Dermot Weld’s newcomer Eylara for the Aga Khan are others on the shortlist.
Another selection from the Aidan O’Brien stable and like La Joconde in the opener, this horse is having just a second start on the racetrack for team Ballydoyle. Like plenty of O’Brien’s juveniles this year, the son of Galileo needed his debut run when fourth at Leopardstown and wasn’t beaten too far behind Donnacha O’Brien’s Fernando Vichi.
That horse finished behind Cadillac at Leopardstown last weekend, with the third home in Foxrock Fight Zone winning at Naas earlier this week for Ger Lyons on Thursday.
SIR WILLIAM BRUCE wasn’t fancied in the betting on debut, but that performance can put him spot on for victory here and follow in the footsteps of Circus Maximus and Mythical by winning this maiden for team Ballydoyle. O’Brien also runs twice raced Song Of Peace, but Trusted Ally could be the biggest danger to our pick for trainer Michael O’Callaghan.
This juvenile was only beaten 5 lengths behind Mac Swiney in the Futurity Stakes and has good experience after three starts so far this season.
Elsewhere, others open to improvement are, Abstract, Bohenie and Grid, while any market support for Henry de Bromhead’s newcomer, Whipsaw with Colin Keane booked should be noted.
Most of this field come into the feature Group 3 on the card with some questions to answer, including ENNISTYMON for Aidan O’Brien, who has some solid form from throughout the season.
She’s officially the best horse in the contest and is now having her eighth start of the season following just one run as a juvenile at the Curragh last season.
She’s got the best form on offer, second in both the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and Epsom Oaks in June, before putting a poor performance in the Irish Oaks behind her with another second in the Hurry Harriet Stakes here in August.
She again disappointed at Naas over 1m 6f before finishing third recently to Princess Zoe in the Oyster Stakes at Galway earlier this month. The drop-in trip should suit, and another forward tactical ride should see her finally get back to winning ways for Aidan O’Brien and Evie Stockwell this year.
Elsewhere, A New Dawn is another knocking on the door in similar races this season, with Epona Plays also returning for another battle with the O’Brien runners following her fourth in the Hurry Harriet.
Denis Hogan can strike while the iron is hot with GARRISON COMMANDER securing back-to-back wins under jockey Joey Sheridan in this apprentice handicap at the backend of the card in Kilkenny.
Hogan and Sheridan both worked their magic by getting this four-year-old to win on his first start for the stable at Punchestown just over two weeks ago off a rating of 65.
The horse was previously trained by both Eve Johnson Houghton and Gordon Elliott and despite going up 6lbs in the ratings to 71, he can win again here for his new connections.
The consistent Ya Ya Baby looks one of several dangers here for Jessica Harrington and Scott McCullagh following another solid performance when fifth at Punchestown. Sasta for Jim Bolger and Pat Flynn’s Sydney Blues are just two others to name on the shortlist, while Sweeproad could represent some each-way value for trainer Aidan Fogarthy.
She was third to Laburnum on debut here in June and only faded away late on at Leopardstown behind the highly regarded Roca Roma last month. If jockey Saw Ewing, who takes off 7lbs can get her settled up-front with decent fractions, she could go close at a nice price.
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