Former champion can make Winning Impact
On a relatively low-key card at Navan this afternoon, two former champions have the potential to dominate proceedings.
Declan McDonogh, who topped the overall jockeys' standings in 2006, and Chris Hayes, holder of the apprentices' title on three successive occasions up to 2007, are the men in question.
McDonogh has three spins at the Meath venue, with Winning Impact napped in the one-mile handicap, and Balrath Hope also appealing in the preceding fillies' maiden.
Twice a winner on slow ground, the Jimmy Coogan-trained Winning Impact is stepping back up in trip from seven furlongs, having stayed on to be second to Ondeafears at the Curragh. Since then, New Magic -- fourth that day -- has franked the form by winning at Gowran Park, so the omens are positive for the selection in what is no more than a middling 10-runner heat.
Balrath Hope's contest over the same distance is a more open affair, with the likes of Maid To Master, Love Is The Key and Sparkling View all having displayed ability. Still, Gavin Cromwell's three-year-old ran with credit when keeping on for second over seven at Down Royal, and previously went very close on the two occasions that she encountered soft ground.
With five rides, the in-form Hayes has a busy afternoon ahead of him. The Paul Deegan-trained Red Sea Poll can oblige for him by confirming recent Naas superiority over Felina in the five-furlong handicap, while Andy Oliver's Summer Knight catches the eye in the last.
McDonogh's Ballinrobe scorer Jimtown is one of a few threats in this 10-furlong handicap, but he has plenty to do under top weight in such testing conditions. Summer Knight lines out having gone down fighting to Oh Happy Days at Gowran Park a month ago, when he ran around a bit for pressure on what was the first time he ever had to race properly.
If he has straightened up since, he will take plenty stopping, and a similar comment applies to Ballydoyle's Triumphant in the conditions race. A winner at Gowran as a juvenile, Joseph O'Brien's mount took a while to pick up when second to Takar on his Curragh reappearance.