Wednesday 22 January 2020

Ellison aiming for another dream Irish raid as 'Walker' heads Cambridgeshire market

The North Yorkshire-based trainer tries to spoil another Irish party at the Curragh tomorrow with Dream Walker. Photo: PA Wire.
The North Yorkshire-based trainer tries to spoil another Irish party at the Curragh tomorrow with Dream Walker. Photo: PA Wire.

Thomas Kelly

Brian Ellison has been making a habit of plundering big prizes at the Galway summer festival and the North Yorkshire-based trainer (right) tries to spoil another Irish party at the Curragh tomorrow with Dream Walker which has been heading ante-post lists for the Tote Irish Cambridgeshire since betting opened on the race.

Seldom do you see horses come from last to first at Galway, certainly not in handicaps over seven furlongs, but Chris Hayes somehow managed to weave his way through the pack to give Ellison his third win on the trot in the Ahonoora Handicap on the final day of the Galway festival.

The grey seven-year-old has won three of his last four starts and his rating has rocketed to a career-high of 95 but nothing comes into the valuable 24-runner contest in better form so it is no surprise to see him sitting at the top of the market.

David Wachman claimed the Cambridgeshire last year with Hint Of A Tint and he relies upon Fit For The Job this time around, while Michael Halford is strongly represented with no fewer than five of the field. If jockey bookings are to be believed, then the best of that quintet is Hasanour as stable jockey Shane Foley has chosen the three-time course winner.

Dermot Weld surrendered his champion trainer title at Galway to Willie Mullins but Eziyra did produce the goods at Ballybrit for the Master of Rosewell House and she continues her progression in the Group Three Flame Of Tara Stakes.

Weld has no hesitation in suggesting that Eziyra was ready for a step up in class following that impressive Galway maiden win, the form of which has been boosted twice since by the runner-up Hydrangea, and she is likely to be a warm order to register a second career success.

It is worth noting that the only filly to have beaten her so far, Sea Of Grace, is among her six opponents.


Godolphin are represented in the Group Three Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes with Skiffle which was no match for Minding in the Investec Oaks at Epsom but was an impressive winner of the Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood prior to that and is held in high regard by both Charlie Appleby and William Buick.

Somehow spearheads the home challenge for Aidan O'Brien and Seamie Heffernan, while Mick Channon sends over Epsom Icon and has booked Ronan Whelan to ride. That pair teamed up to win a Group Three at the Curragh earlier in the season with Divine.

O'Brien holds a strong hand in the Group Three Round Tower Stakes with Intelligence Cross and Sportsmanship, but plenty of eyes will be peeled to Holy Cat which was a wide-margin winner of his sole start at Leopardstown earlier this month.

Bamako Moriviere is the headline act on a seven-race jumps card at Cork. His winning spree came to an abrupt end when only 12th of 20 in the Galway Hurdle but it should be little more for a steering job for Ruby Walsh in the Online Ticket Sales @ Corkracecourse Hurdle as his rating of 148 is far superior to his three rivals.

There was no more popular winner over the seven days at Galway than Shake The Bucket for the Madden family and he makes the 75th appearance of his career at Navan today in the Like Navan On Facebook Handicap with Tom 'Socks' Madden, son of trainer Boots, and brother of Slippers who was on board for the aforementioned Galway success, in the saddle this time.

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