Thursday 21 November 2019

Abbakova looks one to keep on side

Rciahrd Forristal

A YEAR after being lost to flooding, this afternoon's Tipperary spread appears to have been adversely affected by the prevailing fast ground, with just 50 runners declared to take part.

Despite frequent calls from Flat trainers to let firm ground prevail without being artificially irrigated, many appear reluctant to risk horses during this prolonged dry spell.

The Limerick Junction track has reportedly been watering all week in an effort to provide a safe surface, yet the equine turnout is still down all of 26pc on last year's rearranged card, which was run on heavy ground and even required the 47-65 seven-furlong handicap to be divided.

There was similarly sparse fare on offer at Leopardstown on Thursday evening, yet yesterday's all-weather spread at Dundalk attracted 91 runners, not counting the 31 reserves or eliminations.

Like most of the rest of us who spend half the time bemoaning the suffocating heat, maybe there is simply no pleasing the Irish training population either.

The featured Danehill Dancer Stakes has attracted six relatively modest runners, with Abbakova appealing as by far the most progressive option in the five-furlong contest.

Fourth to Stubbs, third to Coach House and second to Bye Bye Birdie on her first three starts, the Dandy Man filly finally got off the mark when making all over course and distance recently.

Celtic Man and Sing From Heaven, second and fourth then, subsequently complimented that form by filling the first two places at Bellewstown. As such, Abbakova's form is superior to everything else here so, in the absence of a single colt, she can collect the €40,000 Listed prize for Willie McCreery and Pat Smullen.

Mick Halford travels two south from his Kildare base, and both are fancied to collect. Sheikh Mohammed's Warbird can build on his encouraging debut fifth at the Curragh in the juvenile maiden under Shane Foley, with Rummaging appealing as the most solid option for the same partnership in the following handicap over the same seven-furlong trip.

Foley could also score on Ken Condon's Roja Dove in the Michael Maher Building And Construction Handicap, while Magnolia Ridge should take plenty of beating in the final maiden. A length behind Thursday's Leopardstown scorer Great Explorer at Fairyhouse previously, Dermot Weld's Pat Smullen-ridden charge will relish the step up to 12 furlongs.

The day's nap vote goes to Noel Meade's Silver Tassie in the long distance maiden hurdle on a well-contested jumps programme at Downpatrick.

The five-year-old drew 25 lengths clear of the rest when second to Top Cat Henry over two and a half miles at Wexford last time, yet the seventh, All The Way Home, was good enough to collect at Roscommon in the meantime.

Given that Silver Tassie was encountering firm ground for the first time at Wexford, he obviously enjoys feeling his hoofs rattle, and the step up to most of three miles should suit.

His irrepressible rider Davy Condon could also take the conditions hurdle for Meade on Dylan Ross. Better known as a chaser these days, Dylan Ross was Grade One-placed as a novice over flights, a standard none of his five rivals can match.

Irish Independent

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