Wednesday 22 November 2017

Elusive Beauty can handle rain

Trainer Ken Condon's Elusive Beauty is well proven on soft and heavy ground. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Trainer Ken Condon's Elusive Beauty is well proven on soft and heavy ground. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Michael Graham

Ken Condon believes testing ground will not hinder Elusive Beauty's bid for black type in the Group Three TRM Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh this afternoon.

Ken Condon's charge is well proven on soft and heavy ground and arrives on the back of a close fourth in a €50,000 handicap at the Kildare track, when she suffered a troubled passage.

"She was tight for room in the Curragh and that's the way she has to be ridden - for patience," said Condon. "She needs luck, but she ran very well. She is very consistent and is a good, hardy, tough filly. There is a lot of rain forecast and she won't mind the ground. I'm happy with her.

"She has a mark of 94, so will probably have to improve, but she has run well at the Curragh at this six-furlong trip before. The aim is to get more black type as she has been third in a Group Three before. There is a seven-furlong Listed race at Carlisle in July for three-year-old fillies only, which we don't have in Ireland. There is also a premier handicap over the Derby weekend."

Joseph Murphy's Only Mine has been keeping very good company and found only a rejuvenated Gordon Lord Byron too good in a Group Two over course and distance last month. Peticoatgovernment has been sustaining her form well with two wins and two places in her last four handicaps and looks worth a try at this level.

There are five British raiders in the field, including Hughie Morrison's Poet's Princess, who was pipped by a head in the Betway Sprint Trophy Handicap at Newmarket. David Evans sends over Buying Trouble, who scored in Listed company at Haydock in May. Florida Times was placed for David O'Meara on soft ground in a Listed sprint at Newbury, while Derby-winning rider Padraig Beggy gets the leg up on Wowcha for Malton-based John Quinn.

Aidan O'Brien is triple-handed with Music Box, who steps up in class from a maiden victory at Gowran Park, Smoulder and Alphabet. Kevin Prendergast's Penny Pepper and Robert Cowell's Evil Spell also go to post.

Stronger Than Me drops back to his optimum trip of a mile and a quarter for the TRI Equestrian Silver Stakes. The nine-year-old son of Marju was caught in the final furlong of a valuable mile-and-a-half-handicap, under 10 stone, at this weekend's venue last month.

Trainer Bill Farrell expects both the drop back in distance and easy ground to play in his charge's favour.

"A mile and a quarter will suit him better," he said. "It's likely to be a different pace and we will drop him in. We would like a lead. He has a nice draw (in one). With the weight he was carrying, a mile and a half was a bit far for him the last day. We changed tactics and went from the front, as it was very hard to make up ground in that ground. We just got chinned for second. I'm not mad keen on giving weight away in those premier handicaps, but we had nowhere to go with him.

"We are happy with him and he's well. He doesn't mind an ease and has won on soft before, he's very adaptable. He has a preference for an ease in the ground."

Conditions are forecast to be testing at the Curragh, which should not trouble Laganore. Tony Martin's mare is top-rated on 108 and was placed in Group Three company over course and distance last month. It was Glamorous Approach who beat Stronger Than Me into fourth the last day and the pair clash again. Former Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov runs for Joseph O'Brien in addition to Reckless Gold.

Titus, who won at Leopardstown in the autumn for Dermot Weld, is very much unexposed. Plenty of winners have come out of that maiden, including the runner-up, Venice Beach, who landed the Group Three Chester Vase. Weld also runs Foxtrot Charlie, who has been off track for almost a year. Jessica Harrington's Red Label was a beaten favourite in the Group Three Gallinule Stakes after a brace of victories. Johnny Murtagh's Flirt and Santa Monica, representing Charles O'Brien, complete the field.

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