Flight Risk to reignite Ruby flame for Bolger and Manning
It is 16 years since Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning last combined to plunder the Ruby Stakes, but they will have a fair stab at the Listed race with Flight Risk on day one of Killarney's August Festival.
Lil's Boy was the enduring firm's most recent Ruby winner in 1998. Since then it has moved from its lost Tralee home and been named in honour of Vincent O'Brien. Aidan O'Brien's five-year monopoly of the €40,000 mile contest came to an end last year, and he has no more than a middling chance here with the Michael Hussey-ridden Sparrow.
Dermot Weld's runaway Galway maiden winner Brooch is interesting, and more seasoned campaigners like Dandy Boy and Mizzava will have their chances.
However, Flight Risk has shown enough when pitched into Pattern company on his first two starts to suggest that a syep up to a mile could prove crucial. The Teofilo colt was sixth behind Shining Emerald at Listed level in the autumn, before recently returning to the Curragh for his seasonal debut to get within a couple of lengths of Scream Blue Murder, Jamesie and Hamza.
That was a fair effort for such an inexperienced horse, and the suspicion is that Flight Risk has the quality to go close in this open-looking 10-runner affair if he improves for the step-up from six furlongs. Bolger and Manning have other chances on the night, with Intensified and Cosmic Cannonball also fancied.
Intensified lines up in the Cliffords Groundcare Ltd Handicap over a mile. This is another competitive race, but Intensified showed serious promise as a juvenile last year before his form tailed off, and he was well supported on his return when he kept on to be second behind Derulo at Naas. While he's four pounds higher now on 76, but he still looks well treated.
The Hurry Harriet Stakes fourth Cosmic Cannonball should relish the step back up in distance in the conditions race finale, while Denis Hogan's Ridestan has nap appeal in the preceding handicap over the same 11-furlong trip.With 13 runners, this is another well-contested event, but Ridestan is on a steep upward curve.