Tuesday 16 January 2018

Alive Alive Oh ready to take long-awaited return in stride

Dettori: In action at the Curragh today
Dettori: In action at the Curragh today
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Alive Alive Oh looks set to finally reappear in this afternoon's Blandford Stakes at the Curragh after what turned into an extended hiatus since last May.

Following his classy three-year-old's rout of a Navan Listed field, Tommy Stack opted to swerve a few high-profile engagements due to the prevailing fast ground.

Although conditions on the round course at headquarters were still being given as good to firm last night, the yielding in the straight course suggests that there will be no jar in the ground, and another shower would surely see off the last of the firm.

All being well then, Alive Alive Oh will begin her autumn campaign in the Lanwades Stud-sponsored 10-furlong Group Two. In the event that she emerges on top under Fran Berry, her Group One potential would be confirmed, as this will be a fair test.

Hughie Morrison sends over Shirocco Star, which has already been placed at the top level on the Kildare plains in last year's Irish Oaks and this year's Pretty Polly Stakes.

Jane Cecil and Tom Queally combine with the Nassau Stakes third Hot Snap, while Belle De Crecy, Princess Highway and Pearl Of Africa are other smart locals.

Still, Alive Alive Oh is by far the most exciting prospect, and there will certainly be long faces all round if she doesn't take this next step in her stride.

Stack could initiate a Group race brace with the Billy Lee-ridden Cape Of Approval in the Renaissance Stakes. This €60,000 Group Three sprint is wide open, with the raiders well represented by Hitchens and Artistic Jewel.

Ballydoyle's Cristoforo Colombo and Barry Lalor's Maarek have claims, but the hat-trick-seeking Cape Of Approval has been a real improver for Stack, who has booked the visiting Frankie Dettori for his other runner, Scream Blue Murder.

Eddie Lynam and Johnny Murtagh get the nod to take the five-furlong handicap with last week's progressive Dundalk scorer Yulong Baoju, while Little Arrows is fancied in the apprentices' race.

Ken Condon's charge has been running quite well of late and won't be far away in this modest affair under the able Ross Coakley.

Irish Independent

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