Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Deegan's pair of high-flyers aim to land Birdcatcher spoils

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Up-and-coming Curragh handler Paul Deegan has confirmed that he will be two-handed in his bid for another valuable triumph in Sunday's Birdcatcher Nursery at Naas.

Having nearly been lost to the job when his initial backers pulled the plug on a venture that wasn't four months old, the 33-year-old Wicklow native has made a tremendous impression since subsequently acquiring his trainer's licence in 2006.

Big pots and Pattern races have flowed with impressive regularity, this year's flag-bearer Midnight Soprano taking her earnings to in excess of €123k for the season when prevailing for a fifth time in Sunday's Finale Stakes at the Curragh.

When Srucahan followed up at the same venue two days later, Deegan's tally stood at 20 for the year, matching his previous best of 2010.

Come Sunday, he intends to saddle Fromajacktoaking and Talitha Kum in the €40,000 juvenile handicap. Fromajacktoaking will be on a four-timer in the six-furlong contest, though Talitha Kum -- a 10-length Listowel maiden winner -- will be out to leave behind last month's below-par effort in Listed company.

Both are proven in mud, no small matter given the amount of rain that has fallen. "They both run and will go there with great chances," Deegan reports.

"Talitha Kum was in season last time, but she is a very smart filly. Fromajacktoaking is really going the right way; he has won his last three so he goes there with every chance as well. We know they handle soft ground, so I'd be hopeful they have live prospects."

Two-year-olds have accounted for six of Deegan's 20 winners, including Seolan, a €2,200 bargain purchase that was sold on to American Rick Barnes of Wicklow's Grangecon Stud after also hosing up on her Listowel bow.

Deegan, who says "you couldn't split Seolan and Talitha Kum on their homework", tried to no avail to sell the talented Alhaarth filly to existing clients prior to her debut.

Instead, Barnes moved Seolan to his main trainer Patrick Prendergast, who saddled her for a taking win in Listed company on Sunday. Turns out she might yet have a third home within the month as Barnes seeks to seize a quick profit on his investment.

"She's going to the horses-in-training sales in Newmarket at the end of the month," Prendergast revealed of Seolan. "She won't be given away, though. If she doesn't make a good price she'll come home and I'll train her for next year.

"The race she won (on Sunday) was won by (1,000 Guineas winner) Homecoming Queen, and I'd be happy to have her next year for the Guineas."

Irish Independent

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