Waterford trainer can continue jumping dominance as he switches summer focus to Flat for day two Galway feature
ADO McGUINNESS has been the man to follow in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap as the Dublin trainer aims for a famous four-timer in today’s feature at Ballybrit.
McGuinness has his typically powerful team in tow and saddles a whopping eight of the 18 runners, but there are plenty of dangers lurking that could undo him.
5.10 Listed Colm Quinn BMW Novice Hurdle 2m110yds
WILLIE MULLINS has landed four of the last seven renewals and holds a strong hand again, with Tax For Max setting the standard on ratings.
Paul Townend’s mount, second in a novice hurdle here 12 months ago, broke his maiden tag over hurdles when scoring at Punchestown at the end of May and has been kept fresh for this task.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Prairie Dancer is a threat as the four-year-old bids for a hat-trick, having taken minor events at Ballinrobe and Bellewstown in good style.
JJ Slevin’s mount was good enough to finish eighth in the Fred Winter at this year’s Cheltenham Festival and warrants respect, while the inexperienced Amir Kabir could be the fly in the ointment.
Gordon Elliott’s five-year-old has just one start over hurdles to his name, although it was a winning one in a Roscommon maiden hurdle 22 days ago, so he will have to step up to take this prize.
Verdict: Tax For Max gets a hesitant vote in the opener.
5.40 Latin Quarter Beginners’ Chase 2m2f54yds
JON SNOW once was touted as a hurdler with a big future, but Mullins’ charge never really lived up to the hype and the 2020 Galway Festival winner now switches to the larger obstacles under Townend.
The seven-year-old comes here fit after a decent effort on the Flat last month, but this is a tricky affair where O’Brien’s Midnight Run looks set to go off favourite after showing his rude health with a facile success on the level eight days ago.
The eight-year-old is 0-4 over fences but has plenty of solid form in the book, the pick of which is chasing home the classy trio of Gabynako, Fury Road and Max Flamingo in a beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse in November.
A repeat of that form could be enough for Bryan Cooper’s mount to get the job done, while Hannon is another live contender after Tom Gibney’s charge ran a cracker when second at Wexford earlier this month.
Verdict: Midnight Run may prove too good under Cooper.
6.10 Colm Quinn BMW Irish EBF Fillies Maiden 2yo 7f
AIDAN O’BRIEN has landed three of the last four renewals and carries high hopes again, with Dower House showing plenty of promise on her first start when sixth of 18 in a Curragh maiden last month.
The Galileo filly is a sister to several winners – including Classic hero Churchill – and she certainly wasn’t knocked about up the home straight when three lengths adrift of stablemate Never Ending Story, a Group Three winner on her next outing. Significant improvement is expected under Seamie Heffernan and she could prove a notch above her 10 rivals, with newcomers On The Money, Remind – trained by O’Brien’s sons Joseph and Donnacha – and Tahiyra in behind.
The latter is a half-sister to the brilliant Tarnawa and looks the most likely to cause an upset for Dermot Weld and Chris Hayes, but Dower House could have a bit more in the locker.
Verdict: Dower House can maintain O’Brien’s stranglehold.
6.40 Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap 1m123yds
MOSALA was third last year in this and Henry de Bromhead’s (inset) five-year-old looks to have been laid out for this prize.
The Kodiac gelding comes here 4lbs lower this time around under Wayne Lordan and his excellent third in the lucrative Nasrullah Handicap at Leopardstown earlier this month could have him cherry ripe to score.
McGuinness dominates the field and previous winners Saltonstall (2020-’21) and Sirjack Thomas arrive on favourable terms and can’t be confidently ruled out, much like the rest of his octet.
Weld’s Crystal Black knocked on the door when third in a big handicap on Irish Champions Weekend last year and also looks to be primed for a big effort while Dha Leath has three wins from four since switching to Gavin Cromwell and would be intriguing if getting in as second reserve.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Cowboy Justice comes here in fine fettle, having landed a decent event in Killarney a fortnight ago, while Michael O’Callaghan’s Fastnet Crown also took a decent handicap on Irish Derby Day at the Curragh, but Mosala may be the answer as De Bromhead can bring his success over obstacles to the Flat.
Verdict: Mosala can land the big one for Lordan.
7.15 Caulfield Industrial Irish EBF Maiden 7f
WELD made it fifth-time lucky when Emilie Gray belatedly got off the mark in this contest 12 months ago and the Master of Rosewell House will try to do something similar with Butterfly Island this time.
She remains a maiden after nine Flat runs and looks very skimpy in the betting, given her inability to get the job done, and others are preferred, with the Johnny Murtagh-trained Karakoul the standout in terms of ratings.
The Fast Company gelding is 7lbs clear of his nearest rivals and while Shane Kelly’s mount hasn’t scored yet on four starts, there was enough to suggest that there’s more to come after finishing fourth in a Limerick maiden on his last start in April.
Bobby Dassler saved his best for last as a juvenile when second in a Naas nursery on his fourth start last October, but Eddie and Patrick Harty’s charge hasn’t been seen since then and will have to produce a career-best to take this.
Verdict: Karakoul can score for Murtagh and Kelly.
7.50 caulfieldindustrial.com Handicap 7f
THIS race has not been kind to favourites, with just one obliging in the last decade, and a 16-runner minefield is one where punters should tread carefully.
Denis Hogan may be the one to watch here with Church Mountain scoring at Ballybrit twice last season – including once at the Festival – and the four-year-old is respected with Seán Bowen taking 7lbs off.
His stablemate Ransom is also intriguing. Michael Stoute’s former inmate showed little since switching to the Tipperary trainer before a fine effort when well supported at Killarney two weeks ago.
A shortage of room in the home straight meant he could only finish a close fifth and he can make the frame once again, but a slight preference is for Galway lover Church Mountain with the Hogan pair possibly dictating affairs.
Verdict: Church Mountain can continue his Ballybrit brilliance.
8.20 Caulfield Industrial Handicap 1m123yds
THE presence of Rachael Blackmore plus the evergreen Geological – making his 140th start as the 10-year-old chases his 17th victory – adds some spice to a tricky finale.
Blackmore partners Blackpoint for legendary trainer John Kiely, but the six-year-old looks up against it and is without a win in nearly two years.
Mark Fahey’s Clear Quartz meets the John McConnell-trained No Patience again after the latter prevailed when they clashed at Roscommon in May, while McGuinness’ Star Of Cashel is another for the shortlist.
Preference is for Black Hawk Eagle, though, with Noel Meade’s four-year-old not out of the first three in a trio of handicap starts and he looks ready for a bold bid under champion jockey Colin Keane.
Verdict: Black Hawk Eagle can soar in the lucky last.