Rising stars O'Callaghan and Davis can continue to milk it with Bainne at Navan
Published 11/06/2016 | 02:30
Curragh handler Michael O'Callaghan is enjoying an excellent campaign and he is trusted to deliver today's nap vote when he saddles Bainne in Navan's six-furlong handicap.
O'Callaghan has struck up a fine relationship with the resurgent Kieren Fallon, and only two other jockeys have ridden winners for the Kerry native this year. One is the ever-impressive 2014 champion apprentice Colin Keane, and the other is Sean Davis, a 17-year-old who might one day have aspirations to contest the young riders' championship.
At Leopardstown last Friday, Davis, a native of Maynooth, partnered his first winner aboard O'Callaghan's Maknificent, and he doubled his tally within a week when steering Total Demolition to victory on his return to the Foxrock venue.
He is clearly a youngster with some potential, and he will twice combine with his boss O'Callaghan today.
Mr Bounty has a live chance for them in the five-furlong apprentices' handicap, but it is Bainne that strikes as the one to keep on side.
Placed in three of her last four starts in competitive handicaps, Bainne faces another tough task here against a lot of regulars, and she is 3lb out of the handicap proper.
However, she is never far away, and Davis' 10lb claim could prove invaluable given that he will be riding with enhanced confidence.
A four-time winner that has scored off a mark as high as 73, Bainne won off 69 at the Curragh this time last year. She has recently been running well off 72, but the switch back to a stiff six furlongs here should suit ideally.
In the apprentices' race, Mr Bounty is passed over in favour of the 10-year-old Calm Bay. Harry Rogers' veteran won this two years ago, though he hasn't been running especially well lately.
Nonetheless, he has fallen in the ratings as a result, with a mark of 59 by far the lowest that he has run off since his win here off 51 in 2014. That gives him a chance under Ana O'Brien.
Handicap newcomer Lambeau Field could take the long-distance race for Charles O'Brien and Declan McDonogh, while the 2006 champion jockey might also help John Oxx to break his duck for the year with Star Of Kings in the fillies' maiden.
Star Of Kings twice showed up well against the colts last year, and finished off by going close in a fillies' race at the Curragh, where she was denied just neck for third by Coolmore. Here, Star Of Kings steps up to 10 furlongs, so she should be thereabouts if she has trained on.
Over jumps at Limerick this evening, Willie and Danny Mullins get the nod to take the Coral.ie Novices' Hurdle with Master Of Verse, while at Cork tomorrow Keane and Ger Lyons' should go close with Ardhoomey in the Listed sprint.
The cross-channel raider Spirit Quartz is top-rated, but he hasn't been firing, whereas Ardhoomey won for a third time on the spin here last month and is progressing apace.
In the 12-furlong fillies' Group Three, Dermot Weld's Shamreen is another tipped to extend its winning run. Pat Smullen's mount is on a three-timer here as she steps up in class, and she looks a pretty reliable option.