Monday 18 December 2017

Hennessy and Holland set to dominate St Leger semi-finals

This year’s two Derby winning trainers Paul Hennessy and Graham Holland go head to head in tonight’s Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger semi-finals at Limerick. (Stock photo)
This year’s two Derby winning trainers Paul Hennessy and Graham Holland go head to head in tonight’s Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger semi-finals at Limerick. (Stock photo)
Michael Fortune

Michael Fortune

This year's two Derby winning trainers Paul Hennessy and Graham Holland go head to head in tonight's Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger semi-finals at Limerick.

They supply the four market leaders between them and they will have direct clashes in both heats. It is quite likely that they will emerge at the end of business this evening with four of the six Leger finalists between them.

The Leger is one of the few top events to have eluded Holland thus far and he is very happy with his two contenders Ballinakil Clare and Highview Event, though he is a little worried by the tricky trap draw for his bitch Ballinakil Clare in the second semi.

She will try to get across and might find Hennessy's Priceless Brandy (10.10) in her path. The latter is strong and gets the vote to win this qualifier, with Ballinakil Clare and Native Chimes following him through to next week's decider.

Hennessy says he couldn't be happier with his two runners. He can also land the first heat, where Jaytee Dutch (9.55) wears the red jacket and looks sure to lead up the inside, though he will then probably move wide on the corner.

Holland's representative here is Highview Event in six and he has a perfect draw to make it to the next stage, while Leave At Dawn might also qualify.

Tonight sees the start of the Gain Select Stakes at Waterford where the three first round heats will be run. This competition will have the usual format with nine qualifying tonight and they will be joined in next week's semis by Ela Alecko, Droopys Wilbury and Skywalker Manner.

There could be a great early dash in the first heat between Quietly (9.05) and Gyp Rosetti and they can finish in that order.

Riverside Oscar (9.20) can lead home Mustang Kasco and Burgess Popeye in the second heat, while Proud Graham (9.35) gets the call from Imperial Express and Droopys Nine in the third.

Drumbo Park hosts the final of the Tennents Gold Cup and here the prize can be claimed by Toolmaker Scot, one of two finalists for Robert Gleeson and Willie Hyslop. He can clear Darfin Angel and Blue Cafu to the bend and go on to win from Farloe Rumble.

There is the usual top-class offering at Shelbourne, where the final of the Bookmakers Open 750 is the highlight. The clash of such as Tradition, Airmount Tess and new staying star Skywalker Rossa has the ingredients of a thriller.

Tradition may get up late to maintain her terrific win rate in distance events, though she would prefer a longer trip.

Another attraction will be the appearance of Ballydoyle Honey in a heat of the Open 575.

Irish Independent

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