Sunday 17 November 2019

Haziyna can get back on right track for Oxx

Richard Forristal

Haziyna can make amends for a slightly disappointing defeat at Dundalk when she tackles the featured Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Handicap at Navan tomorrow.

John Oxx's Halling filly made a huge impression when hosing up under Johnny Murtagh on her handicap debut at Leopardstown in March, so her subsequent effort to finish sixth at Dundalk, beaten three lengths, wasn't quite what had been expected of her. Nonetheless, Haziyna was competing off a 15lb higher mark on that occasion.

Having raced keenly under Ben Curtis, she was right there turning in, but ultimately may not have fully stayed 11 furlongs. She drops a furlong in trip again now, as well as a pound in the weights, so the lightly raced three-year-old should get back on track.

Night Glimmer, a facile winner at the Louth venue on her reappearance two weeks ago, looks the main danger. That one has gone up 13lbs in the ratings, while the drop from 12 to 10 furlongs also presents a challenge.

In the following handicap over the same trip, Black Belt, second in Haziyna's last race, is likewise fancied. Although drawn wide, this isn't a strong heat, and Tracey Collins' charge is one of the least exposed of the 12 runners.

A daughter of Big Bad Bob, Black Belt showed promise in two runs as a juvenile. On her reappearance, she was a fair fourth over a mile at Dundalk, so her effort last time suggested that this trip suits her.

Champion jockey Pat Smullen, who partners Black Belt, might also secure the opening juvenile contest on French Emperor. Smullen has won this race for Dermot Weld the last two years, but it is Eddie Lynam that supplies his mount here.

Boris Grigoriev and Snowflake Dancer, from the Aidan O'Brien and Jim Bolger stables respectively, are the two other winners in the race. Neither, though, was quite as impressive as French Emperor at Leopardstown last week and a slight drop in trip to just less than six furlongs may not be enough to stop him doubling up.

In the 13-furlong maiden, Nantucket Bay will be strongly fancied to build on his promising debut at the same Leopardstown meeting. Joseph O'Brien's mount, fourth then, certainly has a big chance, but slight preference is for Wakhan, a horse that impressed when second to Zanughan at the Meath venue last month.

Irish Independent

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