Keep on side with Along Came Casey
ALONG CAME CASEY appeals as a solid option for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen in the €77,500 Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse this evening.
The seven-furlong Group Three, which Weld won two years ago with the subsequent Group One winner Emulous, is the only Group race held at the County Meath venue and this nine-runner edition is certainly competitive.
Willie McCreery's Ballyogan Stakes heroine Fiesolana is out to continue her fine progression with a hat-trick bid, while Lily's Angel tries for a second win at this level for Ger Lyons, who took the race with Berg Bahn in 2010.
Ballydoyle's disappointing Snow Queen sports first-time blinkers, though David Wachman's True Verdict and Hint Of A Tint are more attractive options among the four three-year-olds.
Still, Along Came Casey is surely the one to keep on side for now.
Despite winning just a maiden and handicap off 82 in her first 10 starts, Weld's five-year-old bloomed in the autumn, finishing second to Declaration Of War at Dundalk after recording her handicap win in September.
She confirmed that improvement by slamming a solid Listed field in the Glencairn Stakes on her Leopardstown reappearance, form that was franked nicely when the third – Flying The Flag – stormed home in a Curragh Group Three on Friday.
If Along Came Casey turns up in that sort of form, then, she is the one to beat, with the prospect of rain altering ground, that was yesterday described as good, not an issue.
Lyons is trusted to land the nap with Lightnin Hopkins in the three-year-old handicap over the same trip.
David Marnane's smart Leopardstown scorer Zalty tops the page in this, but Lightnin Hopkins is 5lb better off with him now, having finished a nose behind in third when both were narrowly denied by Connacht Council at Naas.
That gives Colin Keane's mount – twice a winner with a cut in the ground last year – a chance.
Lyons' Toccata Blue and David Wachman's Bronte are others to consider in what promises to be a close-run affair.
Wachman's Hidden Oasis gets the nod in the juvenile maiden, while Angels Guard Thee looks an interesting sort for Tommy Stack in the conditions race. A 14-length Roscommon maiden winner in October, Wayne Lordan's mount is the one with the most scope to step up, despite dropping back to 10 furlongs from a mile and a half.