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Michael O’Callaghan and Leigh Roche teamed-up for group success with Twilight Jet at Newmarket on Friday and can fire in another winner in the opening 6-furlong maiden at the Curragh on Sunday with TARTAN SKIRT.
The daughter of Mehmas ran well in a Dundalk barrier trial before finishing fourth on her racecourse debut at Punchestown last month. The step-back to 6 furlongs should suit with recent race fitness on her side compared to the returning Vivaia who hasn’t been seen since June.
SUNSET SHIRAZ has the best form in the book and can finally break her maiden in the Listed Staffordstown Stud Stakes on Sunday afternoon. The Gavin Cromwell-trained filly ran creditable races behind Agartha, Discoveries and Concert Hall here at HQ in the Deubtante, Moyglare and Weld Park Stakes’ in recent months. The extra furlong and some juice in the ground will hopefully bring out extra improvement to score with Limiti Di Greccio looking the biggest danger for Paddy Twomey.
The classy BARBADOS stands out here for Jessica Harrington on his first start under Rules with Robbie Power in the saddle in this 2-mile maiden hurdle. Despite only two victories on the Flat the son of Galileo has been racing in some of the biggest races across the world, including when down the field in Riyadh back in February. He finished 10th in his latest attempt at the Irish Leger last month before getting a confidence boosting victory in a recent qualified riders’ race at Listowel.
There’s no doubt the Harrington team have done plenty of schooling and hopefully his class can guide him to victory. Top Band might provide the biggest danger having finally got his head in front at Downpatrick last month, while Desert Friend and Dixie Flyer are also on the shortlist. Henry de Bromhead’s runner has progressed nicely over hurdles and it would be a major surprise if he didn’t finish among the placings.
POWER UNDER ME got upset in the stalls before finishing down the field behind Art Power in the Renaissance Stakes but can bounce back to score at Listed level for Ger Lyons. The 105-rated son of Mehmas is still looking for his first win of the season and his second career victory since his debut at Naas two years ago. His second behind A Case Of You at Naas in May is now looking decent form and these underfoot conditions will prove a positive in his bid for success against this opposition.
There’s a good chance first reserve MAZE RUNNER will get a run for Willie Mullins, who has won the Paddy Power sponsored Irish Cesarewitch three times in the past six years. The Colsutton team has a strong hand with My Sister Sarah, Exchange Rate, N’golo and 2019 winner Royal Illusion among the field. It’s been a race in recent years for horses towards the middle to bottom end of the handicap with the previous five winners carrying 9st or less to victory.
Maze Runner has been lightly raced this year with only two starts, winning at 40/1 in a handicap hurdle at Leopardstown in February before finishing fifth in a Galway handicap on the flat in July. The son of Authorized was sent-off favourite for that race and will appreciate a strong gallop here before staying on at the business end under Niall McCullagh. Elsewhere, Turnpike Trip won with a bit in hand at Newmarket for Charles Byrnes, while lightly raced Azallya is another for the shortlist.
It would be nice compensation for connections of FAIRYHILL RUN if she can land the Munster National on Sunday having missed the cut for the Kerry National at Listowel last month. John Ryan’s mare has been progressing nicely this summer and is now looking for a fourth straight victory following success at Tipperary, here at Limerick and most recently at Kilbeggan. Her easy victory in the Midlands saw the handicapper raise her a stone in the ratings to a new mark of 137.
She can defy that rise and put in another front running display under Bryan Cooper, who has developed a good relationship with the mare in recent starts. Elsewhere, Cavalry Master is another horse who has been improving of late with Henry de Bromhead’s novice looking for a five-timer following wins at Kilbeggan, Wexford and twice in Killarney. It’s a competitive race, but hopefully owner Thomas Meagher will be collecting the first prize after success with his six-year-old on Sunday.
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