Wednesday 17 January 2018

Akeed can be another Oxx star

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Tomorrow's Juddmonte Beresford Stakes has gone the way of seven favourites in the past 10 renewals, and Akeed Mofeed is strongly fancied to continue that trend.

The colt's trainer John Oxx has already won the Curragh Group Two prize with three of his very best horses -- namely Alamshar, Azamour and Sea The Stars.

Only time will tell if Akeed Mofeed can live up to the standards set by those multiple Group One heroes, but the manner of his Leopardstown romp three weeks ago was captivating.

What's more, having drawn five lengths clear of the runner-up Athens, it was reassuring to then see that one, which re-opposes tomorrow, enhance the form by collecting at Listowel.

Naturally, there is more depth to the opposition that Akeed Mofeed faces now, but he ought to still confirm himself a horse of genuine class.

David Livingston, one of three representing Aidan O'Brien in the seven-runner contest, may be one that could give the selection a tough time.

Having led from an early point in the National Stakes two weeks ago, he performed with credit to finish third behind Power, and that is arguably the best piece of form on offer.

In the Irish Pony Club Raceday Trophy, Jim Bolger's Bancnuanaheireann, a runaway winner in testing conditions at Listowel, makes his second start. While there can be no knocking the style of his triumph at the Kerry venue, doubts remain as to what he beat, so it may pay to look among his more established rivals for the solution.

Dermot Weld's Catch The Eye, a winner of decent events at Galway and Killarney, is on a three-timer and might still be improving, a comment that also applies to Mick Halford's lightly raced Defining Year.

It is Halford's other runner, however, that appeals as the most reliable option.

Hujaylea has not got its head in front in 15 starts since landing the corresponding race in 2010, but he has nonetheless run many fine races in defeat. Most recently, he finished an excellent second to Below Zero at Leopardstown off a rating of 105.

With the useful Conor Hoban taking five pounds off his back now, that gives the eight-year-old a solid chance at tomorrow's weights.

The Group Three CL Weld Park Stakes for juvenile fillies is a difficult contest to decipher, with every one of the 10 runners beaten at least once. A tentative vote goes to Kinetica, one of two English-based runners on the card.

Mark Prescott's two-time winner has finished third at this level in France on her last two starts. While that doesn't necessarily set her apart on the book, it is significant that someone as shrewd as Prescott has opted to make the journey over.

Earlier, Bonnie Acclamation, twice successful at Listowel, could complete a quick hat-trick in the Joe McGrath Handicap.

Pat Flynn's charge is 11lbs worse off now, but he might well have won with that much extra last time, and the slow ground will certainly be to his advantage.

Clonmel also race over jumps tomorrow on a low-key programme. Rebel Fitz warrants the nap call in the novice hurdle. Beaten into second by Earls Quarter in a slightly muddling race at Galway recently, Mick Winters' gelding's overall profile suggests that he ought to be superior to the eight rivals that he meets here.

In the €14,300 Captain Christy Novice Chase, Action Master might just prevail. Dessie Hughes' five-year-old has a reputation for being a tricky ride, but Bryan Cooper gets a good tune out of him and he receives weight all round.

Irish Independent

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