Wednesday 23 January 2019

Different League to live up to her name

Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography
Trainer Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

There was great surprise when Order Of St George was turned over at odds-on 12 months ago in the Group Three Vintage Crop Stakes (5.20) but history is unlikely to repeat itself at Navan tomorrow.

Aidan O'Brien's string are taking time to come to the boil this season but the six-year-old looks a class apart from his two rivals with Jedd O'Keeffe's English raider Lord Yeats having 24 lengths to make up from their Curragh meeting.

Jim Bolger's Clongowes should also be no match for Ryan Moore's mount and the Ballydoyle No 1 has plenty of other ammunition as O'Brien takes the wraps of some smart sorts on the eight-race card.

Winner of the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last season when trained in France, DIFFERENT LEAGUE could prove to be just that when she makes her debut for O'Brien in the Listed Committed Stakes (2.40).

It's a bit of a guessing game as to which O'Brien horse is most forward at home with Moore on Phoenix Stakes winner Sioux Nation and Wayne Lordan aboard Fleet Review but Different League's second to Clemmie in the Cheveley Park makes Seamie Heffernan's mount a serious contender.


Between O'Brien (three), Bolger (two) and Jessica Harrington (two), the trio have dominated the last eight renewals of the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Salsabil Stakes (4.15) and Moore sides with BYE BYE BABY.

Already a Listed winner at the Meath track, the daughter of Galileo looks the class act in the race and a step up in trip should be taken in her stride with stable-mate Sizzling the most likely to cause her trouble.

Charles Byrnes is enjoying a fine season and eyes are drawn to HARETH in the closing Come To The Family Day May 19th Handicap (5.50). Not seen on the Flat in 1,528 days, the eight-year-old has been kept busy over hurdles and an 11lb drop leaves a lot in his favour with a market check definitely advised.

Those looking for action on the level today have Limerick where the featured Jake Carter Plays Live At Limerick Racecourse June 22nd Handicap (4.10) sees Ger Lyons' Song Of Namibia going for back-to-back wins. Now 12lb higher, it's a tough ask and preference is for WARNAQ, which hosed up earlier this month in a Navan handicap and may be a progressive sort for Meath trainer Matthew Smith.

Elsewhere, TG4 air their Punchestown Festival preview tomorrow evening at 6.10 (repeated on Monday at 7.30) featuring an in-depth look at the battle for the Irish trainers' championship between Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins.

Irish Independent

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