Red Raven ready to soar at Limerick for Prendergast
Kevin Prendergast has saddled just seven winners since the Flat campaign got under way in March – but he is trusted to deliver the nap selection with Red Raven at Limerick this evening.
The Friarstown handler simply doesn't have the same depth to his team as is often the case.
However, his strike-rate of 12pc is respectable, with 44pc of his 57 runners getting in the first four.
Red Raven reappears here in a fillies' maiden, having ran with real credit in decent company last season.
The Lady O'Reilly-owned three-year-old never finished worse than fifth in three starts, with classy subsequent winners such as the Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Marvellous, My Titania, Lahinch Classics, Terrific, Afternoon Sunlight and I'm Yours among those to finish in front of her.
When beaten less than a length by Marvellous over a mile at Navan in October, Red Raven stayed on purposefully to the line.
She steps up to nearly 12 furlongs now, so she is fancied to prove a formidable opponent under Chris Hayes against six more modest individuals.
Prendergast's fellow Co Kildare handler John Geoghegan might take the near seven-furlong Ballyduane Stud Handicap with The Dancing Lord.
This is an open-looking 12-runner contest, but Fran Berry's mount ran its best race since moving from England in the spring when beaten a length in third by Pixie Spirit over course and distance a fortnight ago.
Apache Gold, which finished fourth, has since franked the form by obliging at Cork, so The Dancing Lord appeals as one to keep on side for now and while in Ireland.
Dermot Weld and James Nash could also get the Lilywhites among the winners with Stay De Night and Trans City, while Waterford-based Pat Flynn may take the concluding amateur riders' race with the Katie Walsh-ridden Gusty Rock.
A Clonmel bumper winner that emerged on top by the narrowest of margins when challenged late by Sizing Italy in a similar mile-and-six-furlong Flat race at Tramore, the King's Theatre five-year-old will relish this return to two miles. Willie Mullins' Mourad and Aidan O'Brien's Marchese Marconi are dangerous rivals, but Gusty Rock might just be progressive enough to see them off.
Over jumps at Down Royal, Robbie Power can extend his recent purple patch on Tony Martin's Authinger in the handicap chase that masquerades as a Galway Plate trial.
Impressive in a novice chase at the track in May, Authinger is an unexposed six-year-old that isn't badly treated off 122.