Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 17 December 2017

In-form Dimona to strike gold

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

THIS evening's featured event at Killarney, the Kingdom Gold Cup, has attracted an absolutely cracking line-up.

In all, 15 will do battle for the €22,750 prize, with everything from smart bumper winners turned Flat horses to precocious three-year-olds and seasoned handicappers among the final line-up.

Pat Flynn's Final Flashback, successful on the level and over hurdles at Tramore, is sure to be one of the more popular choices, as is Regent Street.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained three-year-old contests his first handicap here over a mile and six furlongs. Twice placed in Group company, this is a drop in class for Regent Street, but a trail-blazing turn at York last week probably wasn't an ideal preparation.

Dimona, another of the Classic generation, may be the one to keep onside. Victorious in a Tramore maiden before finishing third on her handicap debut, John Oxx's Alhaarth filly displayed considerable improvement for the step up to a staying distance when scoring at Leopardstown three weeks ago.

She came through with a powerful late run to collect under Johnny Murtagh and it's not insignificant that two of the four horses to run subsequently, both of which were well beaten at Leopardstown, have since won. Dimona has consequently gone up nine pounds in the ratings, but she still gets in here off just 8st 7b under Niall McCullagh.

In the preceding McElligott's Mercedes-Benz-sponsored one-mile handicap, John McConnell looks to have found Grainne Whale a winnable opportunity. Placed in her last three starts, Willie Supple's mount appeared unsuited by the undulations at Bellewstown last week before eventually keeping on for second.

Off the same mark on a more even track now, she should go one better in a weak race. Indian Scout, dropping back to a mile having struggled over further, could be her most potent rival.

The day's nap selection is Daffern Seal in the TVM Novice Chase. With Eagle's Pass -- a course winner last month -- Paradis De Thaix, Trendelenburg, Darenjan and St Devote in the field, this will be a proper test for Dermot Weld's exciting prospect.

Nonetheless, the lightly raced seven-year-old is fancied to prove up to the task.

Triumphant in a maiden hurdle by 13 lengths in June, Daffern Seal then annihilated some decent opposition on just his third ever start at Galway, and there's no reason to believe that he won't improve for that first chasing experience now.

Irish Independent

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