Friday 24 November 2017

Bantry Bay to sail in for O'Brien at western venue

Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan
Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Bantry Bay is fancied to atone for a slightly luckless effort in the Queen's Vase Stakes at Royal Ascot when he tackles the Lenebane Stakes at Roscommon tonight.

Four years ago, the Ballydoyle colt's full-brother Quest For Peace landed the €29,250 first place prize in what is the popular provincial venue's most significant Flat race.

This son of Galileo faces 10 rivals in a competitive edition of the 12-furlong Listed race, with Panama Hat, Toe The Line, Altesse and Drifting Mist all older horses that are rated 100 or higher.

Cradle Mountain, successful at Fairyhouse five days ago, will also represent Aidan O'Brien, but Bantry Bay is the one to keep on the right side of for the moment.

Inexplicably denied a short-head by Bondi Beach when heavily backed on his Leopardstown debut, Seamie Heffernan's mount readily made amends at the Curragh, while Bondi Beach went on to be second in Listed company before winning a Group Three at headquarters.

Bantry Bay was again well backed in the two-mile Listed race at Ascot, and he was coming there with a dangerous challenge in the straight, only to be taken clean off his racing line by a rival.

That ruined his chance, although whether he would have beaten stablemate Aloft had he enjoyed a clear run is a moot point.

Still, it confirmed that Bantry Bay is a horse of some potential at this level, so he ought to be good enough to get back to winning ways now.

Ger Lyons, whose consistent Roheryn has a chance in the feature, gets the nod to deliver the card's nap with Van Schaick in the extended 10-furlong maiden. This is a pretty open 11-runner contest, but Van Schaick is one of the more promising and unexposed individuals on duty.

The Rip Van Winkle gelding left his Fairyhouse debut behind when staying on gamely to be second to Mufrad on stepping up to this sort of trip at Down Royal.

That was a really likeable display in defeat, so he appeals as a solid option here.

Likewise expected to have a big say is Perfect Fit in the seven-furlong fillies' handicap. David Wachman's daughter of Teofilo has been frustrating, failing to win in eight starts.

However, her latest effort at Sligo was her most encouraging yet, as she came from a poor position to just be denied by Maontri. If Perfect Fit runs to a similar level here, she is going to take a bit of stopping under Wayne Lordan.

In the opening juveniles' maiden, Mick Halford's Haraz, a fine third on his Gowran Park debut, might do even better now.

A son of Acclamation, Haraz kept on honestly behind Air Vice Marshal at the Kilkenny track, indicating that he would be up to winning a relatively modest event such as this.

He might need further as the year progresses, but he ought to have enough speed to triumph under Shane Foley here.

Of the opposition, Jim Bolger's Escondida is the most potent danger. Kevin Manning's mount has run well to finish in the first four in each of his three previous starts, producing his best effort on stepping up to this seven-furlong trip when just denied by Henshaw here last month.

If he reproduces that standard of performance, he will be thereabouts again, but Haraz might just have that bit more scope to step up at this stage.

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