Sport Horse Racing

Friday 30 September 2016

Crystal Earth looks a world apart

Thomas Kelly

Published 18/08/2015 | 02:30

'Pat Smullen's mount followed up a respectable debut fourth with a fifth to Auld Enemy in a Navan maiden'
'Pat Smullen's mount followed up a respectable debut fourth with a fifth to Auld Enemy in a Navan maiden'

Quantity over-rides quality on an eight-race Sligo card which will test the resolve of most punters willing to take on the bookies.

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Punters should tread with trepidation in taking on the bookies, particularly in the five handicaps that have attracted an aggregate 68 runners.

The maiden hurdle over two miles looks the best chance of finding a winner and Peter Fahey's Crystal Earth should go off favourite.

A consistent sort that was placed in a competitive handicap hurdle at Galway, the eight-year-old mare has the assistance of Ruby Walsh - his only ride on the card - and the partnership should prove too strong for Mick Halford's Shadagann.

In the following handicap hurdle over three miles, Galway victor Slygufftou bids to complete a hat-trick in the hands of Luke Dempsey but the six-year-old could struggle to confirm superiority over old rivals Harangue and Medinah Gold.

When the trio clashed at Ballybrit, the latter - which is also trained by Fahey - made a bad blunder at the last, while Harangue hung left on the run-in. There's likely to be little between the principals again, but having already proven he acts on this course, Harangue gets the vote to prevail for Paul Gilligan and Andrew Lynch.

Racing gets under way with a median auction maiden over seven furlong and Dermot Weld's Haqeeba should be worthy of a speculative investment

Pat Smullen's mount followed up a respectable debut fourth with a fifth to Auld Enemy in a Navan maiden and the application of a first-time visor, in addition to a step-up in trip, could spark the necessary improvement to see off Gossip Central.

As for the three Flat handicaps, picking a horse to finish in the first three looks a task in itself, although the booking of Seamie Heffernan for Denis Hogan's Enigma Code catches the eye in the seven-furlong contest.

At Roscommon last night, there was an emotional success in the 12-furlong handicap as the father and son combination of Tom and Rory Cleary teamed up with Greanta to land the race named in honour of their son and brother Sean, who was tragically killed in a fall at Galway in 2003.

Having improved into fourth approaching the straight, the former Jim Bolger-trained filly (9/1) hit the front just inside the furlong pole and stayed on strongly to beat Liberty's Gift by three-parts of a length.

Irish Independent

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