Connor King can lord it over rival Keane on Nedera
REIGNING champion apprentice Connor King will have his work cut out to overhaul Colin Keane in this year's title race, but he can land tonight's Leopardstown nap vote on Nedera.
Prior to last night's activity, Keane led Leigh Roche by 11 on the 25- winner mark, with King on 10.
Keane has recently been appointed as Ger Lyons' stable jockey and rode out his claim on Artistic Integrity at Gowran on Tuesday.
In contrast, King went to Fairyhouse last night without a winner since the middle of May, albeit he also sat his Leaving Certificate exams in that time.
Roche excelled with three winners at the Curragh last weekend, and all three have decent rides in this evening's apprentices race. Artistic Integrity turns out quickly again and is doubtless the one to beat, but King's Tom McCourt-trained mount should go close.
In winning at Gowran, Artistic Integrity looked value for a deal more than its rating of 70, so it is potentially very well treated by the conditions of this race.
However, Nedera is also a progressive three-year-old that could yet prove superior to her rating of 67.
She ran an honest race when beaten less than two lengths by the 79-rated Backdrop at Wexford last time, with the 74-rated runner-up Nancy Rose winning since.
The third, Focas Mor, was a fine second at Gowran subsequently, off 68, all of which makes the fact that Nedera receives weight all round here – eight pounds off Artistic Integrity – very appealing.
Granted, she will have to keep improving, but there is every chance that she will on just her fifth outing.
Keane has three other good rides as well, with Lyons' Bertie Le Belge fancied to confirm the promise of its debut defeat of Cape Clear Island in the juvenile winners' race.
Among the eight runners in the two-year-old fillies' maiden are four debutantes that commanded bids of an aggregate 1.3m guineas at the sales, with David Wachman responsible for three of those, including Curvy, a 775,000gns Coolmore acquisition.
It will be fascinating to see how they shape up, though Jim Bolger's Pleascach gets the nod for the win after a promising fourth on its bow in the Group Three Grangecon Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.