Bolger's Ballysax hopes can be Answered in style
Sheikh Mohammed's recent maiden winner Answered can enhance Jim Bolger's impressive record in today's PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes at its temporary Navan home.
The late falling of Easter this year has caused plenty of scheduling headaches, in this case prompting the traditional Leopardstown Group Three to be switched so that its status as a Classic trial wouldn't be undermined by an early March pitch. Of the eight runners in the 10-furlong contest that are quoted for the Derby, John Oxx's autumn Navan winner Ebasani is the shortest at as low as 25/1.
Ballydoyle's Carlo Bugatti, which also won on its September bow at Galway, is another potentially smart colt to consider, while the in-form Dermot Weld relies on his recent Leopardstown victor Fascinating Rock.
Answered displayed a fine attitude when drawing clear of Onenightidreamed on its debut at the Curragh three weeks ago, form that was done no harm by the runner-up winning at Cork since.
That triumph came over a mile in deep ground, and the son of Authorized left the impression that this step up in trip would be well within his compass. If that proves to be the case, Answered could make a bold bid to secure Bolger a fourth win in this event since 2010 under Kevin Manning.
Weld could take the Salsibil Stakes with I'm Yours. This is an intriguing Listed race, with Joseph O'Brien's mount Dazzling – one of three Aidan O'Brien runners – the top-rated of the eight starters.
Any of half-a-dozen could conceivably collect, but I'm Yours made the biggest impression when striding clear in a Leopardstown maiden last year.
The day's nap vote goes to Johnny Murtagh's Gorteo in the concluding maiden. Fourth to Australia and second to Terrific last term, the Teofilo filly has the scope to develop into a decent performer.
Meanwhile, the world of racing lost two significant figures yesterday with the deaths of Johnny Harrington and Marguerite Weld.
Bloodstock agent Harrington, husband of leading trainer Jessica, passed away at the age of 77 after a long battle with cancer, while owner, breeder and former trainer Mrs Weld, mother of renowned Curragh handler Dermot, passed away at 98 years of age.