Cecil gives Twice Over Champion Stakes nod
TWICE OVER is to make a surprise appearance in Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, which looks set to be dominated by Aidan O'Brien, who trains five of the 10 acceptors, including Arc De Triomphe favourite Fame And Glory.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdulla, yesterday confirmed the Henry Cecil-trained Twice Over would take his chance alongside the Dermot Weld-trained Famous Name, also owned by the Saudi prince.
Twice Over ran at York's Ebor meeting, battling courageously but being touched off by the Ballydoyle star Rip Van Winkle in the Juddmonte International. On reflection, the Cecil-trained horse had his chance, but had no answer to the winner's late swoop.
O'Brien -- who landed Sunday's Moyglare Stakes with Misty For Me -- is approaching the big race in flying form and landed a double at Galway last night, with stable jockey Johnny Murtagh bagging a treble.
The Ballydoyle team took the EBF Premier Nursery Handicap on 5/4 favourite Treasure Beach, which finished to good effect under Murtagh to grab the front-running Suntan for a three-parts-of-a-length success.
The same combination also took the closing maiden when 1/3 Clearwater Bay galloped eight lengths clear of his rivals.
The first leg of Murtagh's treble came courtesy of Philip Dempsey's Prospectorous (4/1) which benefited from a well-judged ride from the Meath man to capture the Trappers Inn Handicap. "He has loads of pace and shows it at home. He's a right sort of horse," said Dempsey.
Charlie Swan's Rajik continued his excellent run of form by registering a last-gasp victory in the featured Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes. Sent off at 9/4 following consecutive wins at Ballybrit and then The Curragh, the five-year-old was being pushed along by Declan McDonogh on the turn for home but responded gamely to pip Address Unknown by a head.
"He's a tough little devil. It's hard to give weight away to the three-year-olds but it helps that he likes the course. It's possible that he might get an entry for the Doncaster Cup but we might leave hurdling until next season. We can go hurdling anytime. He might have one more run and then get a break," said Swan.
Dermot Weld's 2/1 shot Manacor proved a length-and-a-half too good for odds-on shot Deorai in the two-year-old contest. "I think he'll make a very nice staying colt next year," said Weld. "I might leave him off now. He has a lot of maturing to do."
At Downpatrick, Gordon Elliott and Paul Carberry landed a double when Tarkani ran out the comprehensive winner of the Willie Murphy Jewellers Handicap Hurdle from Mcswynes Bay.
Elliot confirmed that he will campaign the gelding over hurdles and fences and said: "The owner Mick O'Shea is a close family friend and it is great to train a winner for him. Paul Carberry is riding out for me and knows all my horses so well now."
The Elliott-Carberry alliance initiated their brace in the mares maiden hurdle when 11/8 favourite Boragh Princess got the better of a duel with 25/1 outsider Shabra Charity.
Davy Russell made it two course wins from two rides for Kilkenny trainer Garrett Power when he guided Excellent As Usual home from Lets Go Sunshine by three parts of a length to justify well-backed 4/6 favouritism in the staying maiden hurdle.
Power sees a future over fences for his seven-year-old gelding and said: "He won his point-to-point and will go over fences. It's a welcome success after we lost a few horses to injury."
Monaghan trainer Oliver Brady kept racegoers happy as he unveiled a Down flag in the parade ring after his Imperial Shabra took the novices hurdle at odds of 9/4 by seven lengths.
Brady pinpointed his winner as a Listowel horse, as Imperial Shabra kicked on two hurdles out under Matthew Bowes, with favourite Hail Caesar getting collared for second on the line by Fleeting Moment. (© Daily Telegraph, London)