Shanahan's to take his turn in Gowran feature
Published 03/10/2015 | 02:30
Shanahan's Turn is this afternoon charged with extending Henry de Bromhead's unbeaten run in Gowran Park's PWC Champion Chase to five.
A year ago, fresh from a superlative Galway Plate success, Road To Riches was just denied by the indomitable Sizing Europe in the two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two.
Shanahan's Turn ran out a similarly facile winner of the Ballybrit showpiece on July 29.
Only time will tell if he can go on to match Road To Riches' progression, which culminated in a fantastic effort to be third in the Gold Cup.
Were he to win today, though, it would certainly confirm the impression that he could make an impact at the top level. Chief among Shanahan's Turn's rivals is Clarcam, twice a Grade One winner as a novice last term.
A faller in the 2014 Fred Winter, Gordon Elliott's five-year-old proved something of a surprise package over the bigger obstacles. He fell short of the very best, but took the two sub-par chances that came his way in Grade Ones, signing off with a fine defeat of Vibrato Valtat at Aintree in April.
As a horse that goes well fresh, Bryan Cooper's mount is respected. However, a chance is taken on Shanahan's Turn replicating his Galway display. Indeed, he will need to improve on it, but he has the scope to do so for Jonathan Burke.
This time last year, the son of Indian Danehill really looked the part in winning his first two chasing starts. He lost his way for a spell thereafter, but, if he puts it all together again now, he is the horse to beat.
Of the other runners, Cailin Annamh is interesting. Jessica Harrington's mare surprised Rebel Fitz at Galway, and it isn't beyond her to scare the market leaders under Barry Geraghty.
The same firm combine for Weather Watch in the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle. This isn't a great race, and, if Weather Watch builds on his recent Navan debut, he should justify nap billing.
A 98-rated Flat horse, he kept on nicely to be third behind the smart Ballyoisin on that occasion, so he looks to have a decent future at this job.
Geraghty also gets the nod to deliver aboard The Doorman in the extended three-mile handicap chase. Of the nine runners in this, Mouse Morris' JP McManus-owned six-year-old is by far the most unexposed, having had just eight runs since chasing home the smart Minella Foru in a 2013 point-to-point.
First, second and third in his three completed chasing runs, The Doorman looks reasonably treated off a mark of 119 for 10st 13lb.
On tomorrow's decent mixed spread at Tipperary, former champion jockey Kieren Fallon (above) will have his first mounts on home soil since 2013.
The Crusheen, Co Clare native has recently returned from his latest stint in America as he struggles to prevent his once glorious career from petering out with a whimper.
Victory on Dandy Nicholls' Sovereign Debt in the Group Three Concorde Stakes would be a welcome fillip, but Tested is preferred. Dermot Weld's filly won the Fairy Bridge Stakes here for a second time on August 27, running out a stylish winner from Military Angel.
She steps up to a mile for a first time now, but there is nothing in her pedigree to suggest that she won't stay.
In the seven-furlong handicap, local handler Martin Hassett might collect with Master Speaker, which endured a tortured passage at the Curragh last time.
Over hurdles, Willie Mullins's exciting Bachasson is impossible to oppose in the novices' Grade Three, while Thomas Edison should atone for his luckless Galway Hurdle spill in the Istabraq Hurdle. Tony Martin's charge would have won or been second had he stood up at Ballybrit, so he sets a fair standard under Geraghty.