Tuesday 20 March 2018

Elleval out to book his Arlington ticket with victory in the Meld Stakes

Elleval (right)
Elleval (right)

Elleval could book himself another trip to America for the Arlington Million with a good display in the ICON Meld Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday evening.

The consistent six-year-old finished fifth of 13 behind The Pizza Man in last year's Million and trainer David Marnane fancies going on his travels with the Dubai Carnival regular once more.

He was just touched off by the classy Gordon Lord Byron on his last outing and Marnane hopes he can go one better than last year in this Group Three.

"He's been running very well and there was no disgrace in coming second to Gordon Lord Byron last time out over that trip," said Marnane.

"He was second in this race last year (to Carla Bianca) so we're hoping for another good run.

"Last year his good run here teed him up perfectly for a trip to Arlington for the MIllion and he ran a massive race in that, so we'd be looking to do that same thing again I think.

"All going well, if he runs his usual race, we'll be heading back out there, I think."

The likely favourite is Mick Halford's Royal Ascot winner Portage, who is two from two this season and finally looks like fulfilling the high regard he has always been held in .

He took the Royal Hunt Cup for Godolphin in impressive fashion and has his first crack at Group company.

"I've been very happy with him since Ascot and this looks the right race," said Halford.

"He certainly deserves to step up in class for a race like this. With a bit of luck he'll run well again."

Tracey Collins' stable star Captain Joy has his first outing since a disappointing performance in Sweden in May, and it will also be his first turf contest of the current campaign.

"His trip away took a fair bit out of him," said Collins.

"He didn't handle the track out there at all. Thankfully Chris (Hayes) was on him and realised that pretty early so gave him an easy time.

"We gave him a break since he came back and this is his first run back. It's also his first run on grass this season so I'm going there hopeful more than confident.

"He could go to Galway for a Premier Handicap and then there's a Group Three at Leopardstown (Desmond Stakes) he could run in."

Roger Charlton's Decorated Hero is the sole British-trained challenger while Ger Lyons runs Tennessee Wildcat.

Aidan O'Brien is represented by Bravery and General Macarthur, with Joseph O'Brien looking for a first Group success with Reckless Gold.

Dermot Weld has an interesting contender in the once-raced Adool, a Teofilo filly who was a very easy winner of a Fairyhouse maiden on her only start to date. Jim Bolger's Sanus Per Aquam, a Group Three winner last year, completes the field.

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