Smullen can be 'Creme' of Clonmel crop
Pat Smullen and Donnacha O'Brien have already begun to steal a march on their rivals for the respective jockeys' championships and both are expected to be among the winners at Clonmel tonight.
With no resident stable jockey at Ballydoyle, Smullen probably only needs to avoid injury to be crowned champion for a ninth team later this year, a record that would be bettered in modern times only by the 13-time colossus, Mick Kinane.
A running tally of 24 sees the Co Offaly native lead Seamie Heffernan by 11, and he has a cracking book of rides tonight.
Dermot Weld's pair Creme De La and Simmanka are both likely to be short odds. Creme De La should have little trouble getting off the mark at the fourth attempt when she tackles the fillies' maiden in a first-time visor, while Simmanka - also sporting first-time head-gear - is fancied to exploit the weight concession that she receives from Tonkinese in the median auction race.
Smullen could also win on The Brock Inn and Trans City.
The Brock Inn, which is trained in Johnstown by John Nicholson, was on duty at Punchestown only last Thursday, when she was narrowly foiled by Elusive Ivy.
She had previously been beaten out of sight on heavy ground on the Flat at Gowran, but it's fair to put that down to the conditions. On her only other Flat start, the daughter of Stowaway won a two-mile maiden at Tramore last summer. If The Brock Inn runs to that level back on a decent surface she will have a serious chance of justifying nap billing.
Trans City is on duty in a modest 10-furlong handicap. James Nash's charge has a plum draw on the inside, and he is worth a speculative foray off 48 now that he has found some form.
With nine wins, O'Brien has also ridden nearly twice as many winners as his closest pursuer in the apprentices' race. His only mount here is on his father Aidan's Along The Shore in the final two-miler, and the four-year-old filly is fancied to collect.
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