Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Halford's Ambassadorial can upset O'Brien pair

Mick Halford Picture: Getty
Mick Halford Picture: Getty

Johnny Ward

Ambassadorial, trained by Michael Halford, could have too much for a pair of Aidan O'Brien-handled sons of War Front in a deep Listed Avenue Inn, Dundalk Patton Stakes this evening.

Godolphin's Elusive Quality colt has had two starts, both triumphant and over tonight's course and trip. The form of the stable is most encouraging for Ambassadorial, and the Ballydoyle riding arrangements are somewhat confusing. Seamus Heffernan is aboard War Secretary, rated 16lb inferior to Intelligence Cross, the mount of Donnacha O'Brien.

Halford can also take the Dundalk Business Club 2017 Handicap with Yulong Xiongyin. This chestnut by Footstepsinthesand showed enough of class on his debut in December - winning his first start, unusual for a Halford runner - that a mark of 87 may not do justice to his ability.

Many eyes will be on Dali in the opening sprint maiden, since he is trained by O'Brien and by the late Scat Daddy. Scat Daddy is the sire of very promising three-year-old Caravaggio, which made a successful debut at Dundalk at this time of year 12 months ago.

That Dali sports a tongue tie is hardly too encouraging but he may prove the answer under Heffernan.

The nap selection, Pillar, goes in the sprint handicap. To call him moderate would be manifestly fair but he is a hardy little horse and appeals in a weak race now that he steps back to the minimum distance under the excellent Colin Keane for Co Dublin trainer Ado McGuinness.

Claiming regulars Hes Our Music, Burn The Boats and Elusive In Paris again contest a race in this bracket this evening. This is the eighth claimer in which Hes Our Music has run since early October at Dundalk.

Preference is for Elusive In Paris, which is knocking on the door, though he could not quite match Burn The Boats over seven furlongs here on latest. Perhaps the extra furlong, also in favour of Hes Our Music, will prove the difference.

Puppetshow is put forward under Heffernan in a tricky fillies' maiden. Panstarr, trained by Jim Bolger for Godolphin, was just behind two O'Brien-trained horses on debut, so the champion trainer has a good idea of what is required, though he also runs Key To My Heart, the mount of daughter Ana.

The penultimate contest is a cracking handicap and San Remo, a rare son of Frankel which runs for Ballydoyle, may have progressed enough over the winter to defy a mark of 86. He is bred to be better than he has shown.

Take Six Silver Lane to take what is a pretty ordinary nightcap under Pat Smullen, who is riding a steed which is seeking a second win in a row here.

Irish Independent

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