Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 12 December 2019

Discipline fancied to take all the beating in Oaks trial

The insatiable Dermot Weld-Pat Smullen axis continues its rampaging form. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
The insatiable Dermot Weld-Pat Smullen axis continues its rampaging form. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Richard Forristal

The insatiable Dermot Weld-Pat Smullen axis can continue its rampaging form by plundering the Oaks trial at Naas tonight with Discipline.

Prior to last night's Ballinrobe proceedings, Smullen's domestic tally of 50 wins was just over twice that of his closest pursuer, Seamie Heffernan.

Weld, who trails only Aidan O'Brien in the trainers' championship, has stretched a similar margin clear of his other colleagues with 41 wins and nearly €900,000 in prize money, so their big-race triumph at Epsom is matched by an impressive rate of consistency at home.

This evening's 10-furlong feature could be a duel between Weld's Discipline and O'Brien's Earring, which would be in keeping with recent years, given that the Rosewell House wizard has won three of the last five and his Ballydoyle counterpart has won the other two.

When Earring scored with her ears pricked at Gowran Park in May, she readily accounted for subsequent winners An Cailin Orga and Darkyila.

Precociously bred, the Dansili filly has the potential to be extremely smart. However, so does Discipline, which is by the same sire and is a full-sister to the stable's former stalwart Famous Name, to which she bears a distinct visual resemblance.

On her Gowran Park debut, Discipline dotted up in testing conditions, before finishing with a flourish to nearly collar an eased down Bocca Baciata back there in Listed company later in April. The winner was rated 111 at the time and is a solid operator, while Steip Amach, which was six lengths back in third, has since won and been second in Group Threes.


That paints Discipline in a fairly serious light, particularly when you factor in how inexperienced she was at the time. If she runs to a similar level or better in this €55,000 Listed contest, she is the one that they all have to beat.

Weld will saddle newcomers January Morn and Midsomer in the opening six-furlong maiden, but Ballydoyle's How gets the nod to collect in that under Heffernan.

Minding's full-sister ran out of gas at the Curragh on her second start. Having raced keenly in front, she just didn't full get home.

Nonetheless, the winner Brave Anna has since won at Royal Ascot, and How was just over a length behind her at the death. If she runs a little more maturely, she ought to win this.

In the mile maiden at the other end of proceedings, John Oxx, who got off the mark for the season at Gowran Park on Sunday, might score again with Star Of Kings, which is expected to be better now that it drops a little in trip.

The Andy Oliver-trained Palmones is also expected to replicate its Gowran form. Heavily backed en route to winning tidily on Sunday, Gary Halpin's mount tackles the 10-furlong apprentices' race under a five-pound penalty.

It might not be so straightforward second time round, but you'd imagine that Palmones should make a fair fist of following up if her impending 10lb hike by the handicapper is warranted.

In the six-furlong handicap, Ross O'Sullivan's Doonard Prince appeals as a live contender under Killian Leonard.

With 20 runners, this is as open as most races of its type. Nonetheless, Doonard Prince has recorded three of its four wins over course and distance, latterly off a mark of 61 last year.

He now races off 45, having been second at Gowran last time, when he got quite hot. If he runs a little more evenly here, he is fancied to go close.

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