Wednesday 21 March 2018

Banimpire to rule at Cork

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Four English-based runners will feature in the two valuable Pattern races scheduled to take place at Cork tomorrow.

One of the quartet, Polly's Mark, is among a nine-strong field for the Group Three Kerry Group Noblesse Stakes. The Clive Cox-trained four-year-old rarely runs a bad race and has already finished second in two Listed events this term.

Nonetheless, the home defence is strong. Following Grace O'Malley's triumphs in 2009 and 2010, Dermot Weld is going for a third win in a row in the €53,625 contest with Killarney winner Sense Of Purpose.

Aidan O'Brien saddles four, while John Oxx is responsible for Mesariya, which was slightly disappointing when well beaten at Naas last month.

Banimpire, the winner that day, is also present, and Jim Bolger's filly ought to be hard to beat now that she steps up to a mile and a half.

Having brought up a hat-trick at Naas over 10 furlongs, Banimpire performed admirably when fifth over an inadequate mile in the 1,000 Guineas. Now that she drops in grade, a reproduction of that effort would surely be good enough.

The remaining three cross-channel raiders tackle the Listed Galtee Midsummer Sprint. Dandy Nicholls' Inxile and Kevin Ryan's Tiddliwinks set the standard. Blue Dahlia, twice a winner this term, may be the pick of the Irish collective, but Tommy Stack's filly hasn't been operating at the same level as Inxile or Tiddliwinks.

The latter was a fine second in the Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh, and Inxile's recent Group Two second at Chantilly was preceded by wins at Naas, Cork and Longchamp.

As a result of his French triumph, Inxile concedes upwards of 5lbs tomorrow. Given the form the six-year-old is in, though, you couldn't oppose him. In the Golden Olive Maiden, Mereli is fancied to lose its maiden tag. The one-mile heat is not a weak race, but Mick Halford's gelding's form reads well.

When second over course and distance on its seasonal debut a month ago, Mereli had recent winners Still Point and Irish Review behind. If he improves on that, Johnny Murtagh's mount could take a bit of stopping.

Earlier, Pat Flynn and Danny Grant team up with Measured Approval in the six-furlong handicap. The three-year-old is up 6lbs following his second win of the campaign at Navan, but Flynn may have found another winnable race for him.

Tomorrow's nap is Spill The Beans in the Dermot Hughes Toyota Novice Chase at Roscommon. Alpine Eagle and Kilflora are proven rivals for Henry de Bromhead's six-year-old, while Senior Again is a progressive sort that receives weight.

All the same, Spill The Beans may be the most promising prospect on show. With the exception of one poor run at the Punchestown Festival last year, Ruby Walsh's mount has come on steadily, and there was a lot to like about the way he scored in a beginners' chase at Tramore in April.

In the €16,250 Connacht National, Walsh partners Another Ambition for Tony Martin. If this one sees out the trip on its first try at three miles, it has a chance, but there may be a couple with more suitable profiles.

Campbonnais is one to consider off a light weight, as is Model County Lass. Colin Bowe's versatile mare's first-time chasing mark of 106 looks appealing, given that she was second off 109 over flights in April. Based on her win at Downpatrick last week, there's every reason to believe that fences suit her well.

Another to keep on side at Roscommon is Ballyhoura in the bumper. Kilbeggan runner-up Fairview Star may be hard to beat, but Ballyhoura's form last season reads better. Fifth on his debut at Leopardstown after Christmas, Colm Murphy's charge went on to be second in at Cork in March.

At Salisbury, meanwhile, Sohraab should be followed in the sprint. Lining up in the speedy 'dash', Sohraab finished like a train from his unfavourable draw, coming home just half a length adrift of winner Captain Dunne in a blanket finish.

That was a massive improvement on his three previous outings this term and Hughie Morrison turns him out again quickly, evidently keen to capitalise on the fact he is in good heart.

Sohraab has to shoulder a fair bit more weight here than at Epsom but, dropping in class, he remains a live contender.

Irish Independent

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