Saturday 18 November 2017

Backbench Blues can claim Limerick feature for Jessica

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Despite doing its best to throw away victory at Leopardstown a fortnight ago, Backbench Blues is napped to secure his connections back-to-back successes in the Martin Molony Stakes at Limerick tonight.

In 2011, the Christina Patino-owned Bob Le Beau obliged for Jessica Harrington and Fran Berry, and Backbench Blues represents the same team in this year's €40,000 Listed feature.

The Big Bad Bob three-year-old has been beaten just twice in six career starts, scoring for a first time at this level when running out a commanding winner in the capital last time.

Granted, the way that Backbench Blues careered across the track inside the distance, hinted at some form of quirkiness, but he may also have simply been struggling more than it seemed on what was very heavy ground. Tonight, conditions won't be nearly as testing.

Should he stay straight, Harrington's only runner on the card can confirm his ascendancy, though this is a one-mile-three-furlong contest that is going to take plenty winning.

Defining Year, Offer, Tannery, Aklan and the returning Sense Of Purpose are just a handful of the nine other runners that would be well capable of taking advantage if the selection fluffs his lines.

In the Croom House Stud EBF Fillies' Maiden that follows, Faanan Aldaar is taken to build on her encouraging return run at The Curragh last week for Paul Deegan and Chris Hayes.

Ballydoyle are doubly represented here with Demurely and Drops, while David Wachman's returning Jessie Jane, twice placed last term, is also likely to show up well.

However, it is Deegan's three-year-old that appeals most, having kept on really well for third in a 10-furlong maiden that has since been shown in a good light.

With an extra furlong likely to suit, Faanan Aldaar could be hard to beat.

Earlier, Hayes, who is enjoying a fine campaign with 18 winners to his name already, might initiate a brace on Andy Oliver's Shamora in the mile maiden. Third at Wexford on her debut, the daughter of Oratorio should be able to build on that promising start.

Harrington is also well represented over jumps at Down Royal this evening, with Alpine Eagle and Somethingdifferent both expected to go close for the Moone handler.

Somethingdifferent, second at Tipperary recently, looks a solid option in the maiden hurdle, while the highly-rated Alpine Eagle makes the switch back to hurdling in the conditions race after recording a cracking reappearance win over Shot From The Hip at the same fixture.

Harrington relies on the novice Clouded Thoughts in the Galway Plate trial, but Christy Roche's Harold's Cross, a faller in the Leopardstown Chase in January, is preferred to take the honours in that.

Irish Independent

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