Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 17 February 2018

Bank on Wachman's Doha to fly home in Gowran test

Thomas Kelly

TRYING to find winners in the heavy conditions at Gowran Park this evening will not be easy, but Flying Doha looks a colt worth banking on in the opening seven-furlong maiden.

David Wachman showed with Probably's win in the Railway Stakes on Saturday that his string is in good form and the trainer looks to have found an excellent opportunity for this son of Danehill Dancer.

Wayne Lordan's mount was a respectable third first time out at Dundalk, before proving his ability to handle soft ground last month when a staying-on third to Alsium over six furlongs at the Curragh.

This extra furlong should suit Flying Doha and he looks to have enough scope to see off Aidan O'Brien's Unanimous and Consonance from the Joseph Murphy yard.

The juvenile contest over a mile will take some getting and at this stage of the season, it is always advisable to go with the horses which have racecourse experience.

So while O'Brien has taken the last four renewals and is responsible for three of the participants, a sporting vote goes to Sugar Boy, which has already had two runs under his belt.

Fourth on his debut to Einsteins Folly at Leopardstown, Patrick Prendergast's charge showed notable improvement when a close third to the highly-regarded Kingston Jamaica at Limerick. The fact that Johnny Murtagh's mount is by Authorized increases confidence that he will both handle the ground and stay the distance, so he gets the nod ahead of O'Brien's Freedom Fighter.

The Ballydoyle maestro should visit the winner's enclosure with Circle, which shouldn't need to improve on her introductory Leopardstown effort to go one better in the EBF Fillies Maiden.

Balladiene needed every yard of a mile to score at Leopardstown last month, but in the gruelling conditions, the seven furlongs of the Handicap makes her proven stamina a major asset and her ability to handle the mud will stand her in good stead.

The Freshford Handicap is the trickiest puzzle on the card to solve, and while Asian Wing's Fairyhouse second makes him the form choice, it might be worth taking a chance on Call Me Bubbles, representing the all-conquering Willie Mullins team.

Across the water at Kempton, Michael Stoute's Eltifaat is worth an interest in the one-mile maiden.

This debutant boasts an excellent pedigree as a half-brother to 2010 2,000 Guineas winner Makfi, and Tadhg O'Shea's mount can prove too strong for Coco Route.

Stoute should also be on the mark with Scottish Vespers in the 10-furlong maiden at Brighton.

This gelding, which has the in-form William Buick doing the steering, is another which hails from a noteworthy family with his dam, Scottish Stage, Group One-placed in her racing days.

Scottish Vespers is obviously not of that calibre, but after two satisfactory placed efforts in maiden company already this year, his time must surely be near.

Over the jumps at Stratford, the staying novice chase affords Qaspal another chance to break his duck over the larger obstacles, but preference is given to Kingsmere, which is a sound jumper and has already won over course and distance.

Another previous winner at the track, City Ground, looks one to follow off his featherweight in the featured handicap chase.

Irish Independent

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