McCann's 'Hall' can pass Limerick test
Anthony McCann has a decent book of horses going to Limerick this evening and Konig Hall gets the nap vote in the Grant Thornton Apprentice Handicap.
It is hard to credit the son of Halling has only one win to his name, that achieved at 20/1 at Ballinrobe for another Ulster trainer, Anthony McCann.
It is a concern that his last two all-weather runs were really poor - after going close on the polytrack in September - but his recent third off 102 in a handicap hurdle augurs favourably and he enjoys lively Turf. Konig Hall has a rating of just 53 and a good rider in Conor McGovern.
The Croom House Stud Rated Race is an interesting contest and essentially a handicap. Branch Line, a hardy and consistent sort for Andrew Slattery, gets the nod in a race notable in that all participants are ridden by claiming jockeys.
Ana O'Brien is one and she rides Music Box, which - along with Old Time Waltz in the Ballyduane Stud Handicap - provides the young jockey with the arsenal to continue her bid to win the champion apprentices' title.
Marginal preference now is for Camelia Japonica, which seems to be coming back to form for Joe Murphy.
The star of the Down Royal show is Rashaan, trained in Muine Bheag by Colin Kidd. The new distance may suit him and this classy course scorer should win the Mount Charles Hurdle.
The penultimate race, the thetote.com Galway Plate Trial Handicap Steeplechase, tends to have little relevance with a view to Ballybrit, but two runners rated 153 here ensure that the vast majority of the field is out of the handicap. Sandymount Duke has hardly been missed by the handicapper but may prevail for Jessica Harrington.
The experience of Tramore ought to stand to Kalopsia in the Daily Mirror mares' beginners' chase. Joseph O'Brien's filly can take beating now.
Limato and The Tin Man star in a 19-strong field declared for Royal Ascot's Diamond Jubilee Stakes tomorrow.
Trainer Henry Candy won the Group One prize with Twilight Son 12 months ago and this year sends Limato into battle from a high draw in stall 15. However, there is no place for Aidan O'Brien's Acapulco, which suffered a setback last week.