Sunday 17 December 2017

'Ballet' can dance to Donnacha's tune

Jockey Donnacha O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile
Jockey Donnacha O'Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Donnacha O'Brien has emerged as a left-field candidate to win the jockeys' title and he can make that dream a shade more realistic by taking Tipperary's feature this evening.

The rider steers the sponsors' Ballet Shoes in the Coolmore Ivawood Stakes, which is a Listed event that's far from simply solved. Aidan O'Brien's filly is bidding to emulate no less than Capri, last year's winner, but Ger Lyons is bidding for two wins out of four and sends out the promising Lethal Steps, unbeaten so far for Qatar Racing.

Ballet Shoes' improved second showing marked her as a classy prospect, her victory over New To Town at the Curragh appealing as solid form.

Specific Gravity could take a trappy McGrath Oil Claiming Race, while Pat Smullen and Michael O'Callaghan can team up to take the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Fillies Maiden with Crown Leah.

Lyons and Qatar Racing have a good team tonight and Treasuring can atone for her Down Royal reverse by taking the nursery, thus confirming a beating over India Rain. Magic Bear is quite a promising four-year-old and she can take the sprint handicap for Eddie Lynam, while the deadly team of Gordon Elliott and Lisa O'Neill can snare the finale with the well-treated Ibsen.

The nap vote goes to Breezolini, trainer of which - Adrian Joyce - does very well with a small team in Co Roscommon.

Eleuthera is feared, while Knights Templar looks interesting under Danny Sheehy in the second division.

Meanwhile, Co Tipperary trainer Denis Hogan has called for an all-weather track to be constructed in the county - as has been proposed before - after 89 entries for the divided handicap.

"Horse Racing Ireland is very good to divide races but there seems to be a big upward trend in number of entries in lower-grade Flat handicaps," said the Cloughjordan handler.

"Along with Dundalk only facilitating 14 runners, it's hard to plan to tell an owner when you will definitely be getting a run and it's costly on travel."

The Curragh will have its in-field open to cater for families, with capacity of around 1,000, for the second day of Irish Champions Weekend on September 10. This will bring the maximum crowd to 7,000.

Roly Poly will take on the boys in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday.

Ballydoyle's three-year-old has won the Falmouth Stakes and Prix Rothschild on her last two outings.

Closer to home, Michael Halford will aim his Curragh maiden winner Riyazan at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend.

Irish Independent

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