Tuesday 21 November 2017

Curragh Classic heroes set to collect with Mutadaffeq

Smullen: Solid claims in the finale Picture: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Smullen: Solid claims in the finale Picture: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Kevin Prendergast and Chris Hayes can combine with their Irish 2,000 Guineas-winning patron Hamdan Al Maktoum to take the finale with Mutadaffeq on the opening leg of the Curragh's three-day Derby festival.

The son of New Approach contests an Irish Independent-sponsored 10-furlong maiden that comprises 11 runners.

Radar O'Reilly, Jamie The Tailor and Three Star General have all shown form already, while Dermot Weld introduces the nicely-bred newcomer, A Shin Kildare.

It could be quite a competitive affair, but Mutadaffeq appeals strongly. In one outing at headquarters over a mile last year, he ran on well to be third behind Restive, splitting Stellar Mass and Cole Porter, with Beacon Rock back in sixth.

That was a fine turn, and he looked poised to confirm that potential when cruising into contention on his reappearance here earlier in the month. However, he appeared to simply not get home over 12 furlongs when the gloves came off.

With that in mind, the drop to an intermediate trip should be absolutely ideal, so he is fancied to score at the third attempt.

In the featured €50,000 Ragusa Handicap, last year's winner Shadagann appeals as a solid option to retain his crown for Mick Halford's resurgent yard. Others such as William Haggas' cross-channel raider Dawn Missile and Willie Mullins's reappearing Cesarewitch fourth Renneti certainly catch the eye.

Still, Shadagann is not to be ignored. Twice a course winner here, the Invincible Spirit six-year-old landed this off a mark of 84 in 2015, before then winning a conditions race here in the autumn when rated 87.

He didn't figure on slow ground on his return to the track a month ago, but he had previously run really well to be third at Leopardstown off 87.

If you draw a line through Shadagann's latest outing, then, he must a chance here off 86, with the application of first-time blinkers for Shane Foley's mount sure to perk him up a little.

The same firm's Rehana will have a chance in the opening juvenile fillies' maiden, while Aidan O'Brien's regally-bred Butterflies also showed up well on its debut.

Jim Bolger's Bean Feasa is another that made an encouraging start to its career when just run out of it by Psychedelic Funk at Naas. A Dubawi sister to Teofilo, she pulled six lengths clear of the rest that day, which was no mean feat over six furlongs.

Stepping up to seven here, Bean Feasa should take a bit of stopping under Kevin Manning. Later on, the Bolger-Manning combination is also tipped to deliver with the hat-trick-seeking Qatari Hunter in the three-year-olds' handicap.

This is a decent race, but Qatari Hunter is one to keep on side for now. He dotted up here on June 4 off a mark of 74, before readily defying a five-pound penalty two days later at Gowran Park.

He is in here off 89, so life is sure to be much tougher now. Nonetheless, he clearly has the scope to keep improving on just the sixth start of his career.

The Done Deal Apprentices' Derby is always a popular event, and Making Shapes might deliver this time under Killian Leonard.

Trained by Charles Byrnes since moving from Peter Chapple-Hyam at the end of last year, Making Shapes was placed off 77 in August 2015. A fortunate winner over hurdles at Cork last month, he should go close now off 70.

Irish Independent

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