Tuesday 20 March 2018

Alexios can claim Desmond spoils for Stack and Hayes

Johnny Ward

Leopardstown tonight is notable for the return of a Luke Comer runner, his last one having been in March.

The multi-millionaire developer and trainer was suspended until the end of July after the Turf Club's referrals committee found him guilty of "very serious rule breaches". In April, he got a suspended six-month ban after he refused permission for officials to inspect his stables.

Comer saddles one runner on a night when Fozzy Stack, who only took over his father Tommy's reins this year, may enjoy a memorable treble. Stack (right) saddles two in the Invesco Pension Consultants Desmond Stakes, the feature Group Three, and the yard pick Alexios Komnenos may make up for lost time under Chris Hayes.

A 50/1 maiden winner last year, he was not seen between running Churchill to a neck at this course and a pleasing comeback at the Curragh when turned over by three-parts of a length.

That said, he has a bit to find with the raider Moranda, which has to be greatly feared. The Roger Varian-trained grey has been consistent and is especially effective on soft ground, which he may get to some degree tonight. Hayes said of his mount: "He has a great chance. His comeback run was very encouraging and I think he's a horse with a future."

Donnacha O'Brien has just one mount this evening and that one, Nelson, may take the mile maiden. He was a beaten favourite at the Curragh on his second start, but was no disgrace and it will take a smart effort from one of the newcomers to overcome him now.

Colin Keane, the leading rider, has three mounts. He has a good chance of a winner in Daliyah for Ger Lyons in the fillies' maiden, preference for the highly-touted Dermot Weld newcomer Chiara Luna.

Stack begins his pursuit of a treble with course and distance winner Victorious Secret in the idealgraphix.ie handicap. She has run some fair races this year - perhaps reverting to this trip will make the difference.

Oisin Orr can take the apprentices' handicap with the Eddie Lynam-trained The Tulip, which should be helped by a hood now, while Hasslenott is knocking on the door for John Levins and put forward in the Bulmers Handicap.

Breeze bids to provide Stack with another winner in the nightcap. It is hard to muster too much enthusiasm about one becoming frustrating, yet this is a winnable race.

Ruby Walsh goes to Tramore for a couple of mounts but none in the feature Richard Power Private Client Handicap Hurdle. Brian O'Connell teams up with St Lawrence Gap and trainer Eoin Doyle's record at the track is encouraging. That said, Beautiful Ben is greatly feared after a fine recent run at Cork.

Irish Independent

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