Wednesday 29 March 2017

Zarebiya can repeat Oxx's Galtres trick

Damien McElroy

Rip Van Winkle on Tuesday and Dirar yesterday delighted their Irish connections and backers alike with dramatic late surges to claim high-profile victories at York, where our four runners this afternoon face even tougher challenges if they're to maintain the momentum.

Although Rip Van Winkle's stable companions Tom Sawyer and Queen Of Spain may earn some place money in the opening juvenile races, Zarebiya and Sense Of Purpose, which are fairly closely matched from Cork form earlier in the month, should make an impact in the Galtres Stakes.

A year ago, Zarebiya's astute trainer John Oxx followed up the Juddmonte International triumph of Sea The Stars 48 hours previously when Mick Kinane also guided a well-backed Tanoura to land the Galtres Stakes, which is a Listed contest confined to fillies and mares.

The Currabeg handler seldom ventures to Britain unless he reckons his horses have outstanding prospects of success and Zarebiya, as a late-maturing daughter of Galileo, will be having only her third start when renewing rivalry here with Dermot Weld's charge Sense Of Purpose, which was three lengths behind Zarebiya when they were third and fourth to the older, battle-hardened She's Our Mark in Cork's Give Thanks Stakes.

That Group Three affair was run on somewhat rain-softened ground whereas the going should be quicker on the Knavesmire today and that could be a help to Zarebiya's chances in the hands of yesterday's Ebor Handicap victor Jamie Spencer.

The Tipperary native will be very much in the spotlight once more when last season's runner-up Sariska attempts to go one better in a mouth-watering renewal of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks, which is the appropriate highlight of this Ladies Day session.

Having defeated Henry Cecil's dual Goodwood heroine Midday over a mile and a quarter of today's course in May, Michael Bell's star performer probably has more to fear from the remarkable Snow Fairy, with Richard Hughes deputising for the injured Ryan Moore.

It's a rare coincidence indeed that the winners of both the English and Irish Oaks in successive years are clashing for today's further Group One honours and, on the prevailing going, the balance of power may rest with this year's dual champion Snow Fairy, which holds Meeznah on Epsom and Curragh form.

The opening DBS Premier Yearling Stakes is worth almost as much as the Darley promotion and luck in running will be crucial with 20 two-year-old vying for supremacy over the straight six furlongs.

There's prize money down to ninth place and Tom Sawyer, which won his maiden at Tipperary recently, could be in the money as Cape To Rio and Galtymore Lad share top weight in a valuable race that could go, however, to the unbeaten Wootton Bassett.

The following Jaguar Cars Lowther Stakes should principally concern John Gosden's penalised Queen Mary Stakes winner Maqaasid and Margot Did, twice overtaken close to home at Ascot, with Queen Of Spain capable of reaching the frame.

Selections

1.45 -- Wootton Bassett

2.15 -- Maqaasid (nap)

3.25 -- Snow Fairy

4.05 -- Zarebiya

Irish Independent

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