| 8.4°C Dublin

David Livingston to oblige for O'Briens

ON a Classic trials programme at Leopardstown that doesn't throw up nearly as many top-class three-year-olds as it might, David Livingston appeals as the likeliest big-race prospect on duty tomorrow.

Aidan O'Brien's Galileo colt produced a commanding front-running performance to hold off John Oxx's highly regarded Akeed Mofeed in the Beresford Stakes over a mile last September, having previously finished third to Power over a furlong less in the National Stakes.

David Livingston is clearly a smart horse that isn't short of stamina, and the fact that Joseph O'Brien rides him ahead of stablemates Athens and Tower Rock in the 10-furlong PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes is surely a positive.

Granted, O'Brien's charge must concede 5lbs all round if he is to score, but he will need to be able to do that if he is to prove a genuine Classic prospect.

Of the non-Ballydoyle runners, Light Heavy and Call To Battle are the obvious dangers.

Having saddled two successive long-priced winners of the €47,500 Group Three, Jim Bolger is a man you write off at your peril in this, so his Light Heavy deserves particular respect.

A son of Teofilo, the chestnut colt beat Furner's Green over a mile on his reappearance here last month, and looks as though he will appreciate this extra distance.

John Oxx's Call To Battle, sixth behind Akeed Wafi on its Gowran Park debut in September, went on to score twice in the autumn.


While it is of note that Oxx is having a tilt at a race like this with him, the King's Best colt didn't look overly special when winning in Listed company here in November.

Oxx's Akeed Wafi is the day's nap selection in the 2,000 Guineas Trial. Furner's Green will pose a real threat for the O'Brien team if he can build on his reappearance effort, but he did little last term to suggest that he would have the scope to make an impact in any Classic.

Akeed Wafi, however, could yet prove to be quite decent. A respectable sixth in a good maiden at the Foxrock venue first time up, he obliged in the style of a useful horse at Gowran, and tomorrow's four-runner Group Three is hardly going to take a lot of winning.

The fillies' equivalent is more competitive, with nine staking their claim for a €30,875 pot.

Up, second on her reappearance at Dundalk, could be the best of Aidan O'Brien's four, while Kevin Prendergast's Bulbul impressed when winning at Naas in October.

Still, Fire Lily is the one that offers the most consistent form lines. Wayne Lordan's mount, successful in a Curragh Group Three in July, finished second to Best Terms at York, before filling the same spot in Group Ones behind Maybe and Elusive Kate in the autumn.

If she can reproduce that standard of performance, the David Wachman-trained filly is the horse to beat. Also tomorrow, the admirable seven-year-old Famous Name bids for a third consecutive victory in the Listed Heritage Stakes.

The presence of Oxx's lightly raced Lincoln hero Sharestan makes for an interesting clash in what is a well-contested event, but Famous Name should have the class to get his latest campaign off to a winning start for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen.

Irish Independent