Monday 23 April 2018

Aviate looks on different plane for Cecil

Damien McElroy

Newmarket trainers Henry Cecil, Michael Stoute and James Fanshawe have unwittingly combined to mount a determined bid to boost the fine strike-rate of English raiders in recent years in tomorrow's Tote-sponsored Blandford Stakes at The Curragh.

Undeterred by Twice Over's Irish Champion Stakes defeat at Leopardstown last Saturday, Cecil supplemented Aviate in the same Khalid Abdullah ownership for the Group 2 contest in which Stoute scored with Red Bloom in 2005 and 2006 to make it four on the trot for the visitors.

These legendary handlers saw the Cecil-trained Aviate take the Musidora Stakes in York under Eddie Ahern, with Stoute's Eleanora Duse in third place, before that daughter of Dansili went on to forfeit her unbeaten record in the Epsom Oaks behind Snow Fairy.

Aviate returns to the fray over a mile and a quarter now and there's no obvious reason why the Azamour-sired Eleanora Duse will reverse York placings, even if she returned to the Knavesmire last month to chase home Midday and Snow Fairy.

Mind you, it could be a close enough call between the pair with reigning English champion jockey Ryan Moore making the day trip on Stoute's behalf.

Fanshawe hit the crossbar again last Saturday in Leopardstown's Matron Stakes with perennial Group One bridesmaid Spacious and he may have to settle for place money tomorrow with Alsace Lorraine.

Fourth to surprise winner Obama Rule on her comeback here a fortnight ago, Lush Lashes is bound to be sharper for that outing and could be the pick of the home team along with She's Our Mark, which would be in her element if it turned soft.

Any more rain would likewise be a distinct advantage for English challenger Zafisio on his belated seasonal debut in the O'Brien's Wines Solonaway Stakes as Steinbeck and previous course and distance scorer Wade Giles renew last month's Killarney rivalry.

Horse Racing Ireland's flat ambassador Michael Kinane whose outstanding career fittingly is being celebrated here over the weekend, lends his name to the Renaissance Stakes for which last year's winner Snaefell is joined atop the weights by the supplemented Kargali.

While these proven greys along with yet another course victor, Air Chief Marshal, set a decent standard for this Group 3 sprint, don't be surprised if this trio are trumped by Bewitched whose decisive Naas win over recent Deauville heroine Swiss Diva reads even better now.

Irish Independent

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