Saturday 21 July 2018

Heffernan set for 'Gustav' Guineas ride

Jockey Seamus Heffernan. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Jockey Seamus Heffernan. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Michael Verney

Seamus Heffernan is likely to pick up the plum ride on ante-post favourite Gustav Klimt for Aidan O'Brien in Saturday's 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

With Ballydoyle's No 1 jockey Ryan Moore busy bidding for Kentucky Derby success aboard Mendelssohn in America, the ever-reliable Heffernan looks set to partner last month's Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial winner.

While arrangements have yet to be finalised, O'Brien's son Donnacha is in line to ride Racing Post Trophy victor Saxon Warrior as O'Brien chases Classic success on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean this weekend.

Another eyeing a big prize is Jessica Harrington after Torcedor (9/4 favourite) scorched to Group Three Sagaro Stakes success at Ascot yesterday under Colm O'Donoghue.

Fifth in the Gold Cup last season and second on Champions Day, Harrington's six-year-old stayer is likely to return to Ascot for another crack at Gold Cup glory (now 12/1 from 16s) next month after bouncing back from an abject performance in Dubai.

"He had the class form coming into the race. It was just unfortunate what happened in Dubai, but you are learning all the time. You travel that far and they lose weight and they either recover or don't," O'Donoghue said.

Elsewhere, the prospect of possibly partnering the likes of Punchestown Stayers Hurdle winner Faugheen and Djakadam for Willie Mullins on May 19-20 in Auteuil has Ruby Walsh excited about making his return to the saddle from injury, despite the domestic season winding up at Punchestown last week.

"All you have to do is look at what Willie might send, including Djakadam for the Grand Steeplechase. We're also looking at possibly sending over Faugheen, Saglawy, Mr Adjudicator and Stormy Ireland, maybe Penhill," Walsh said in his Paddy Power blog.

"So that's where I'd love to be. Whether I'll be there or not is a completely different matter. The leg itself feels good and the rehab is going well. But it's taking time. I'm flat out in the gym and I'm making progress.

"The next fortnight or 17 days will tell. We'll give it every chance. Given the calibre of horse we'll be sending to France, that's where I hope to be. Whether that's realistic, time will tell."

Meanwhile, the action is closer to home today where Clonmel hosts a seven-race Flat card highlighted by the Quirke uPVC Windows Tipperary Perpetual Cup Handicap (7.30).

Last year's winner Rashaan returns for Colin Kidd but could be undone by bottom-weight Hareth, Tony Martin's recent Navan winner which will thrive in the testing conditions.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport