Keane can coax the best out of progressive Queen Of The Sand
COLIN KEANE fell just short in his bid to thwart Connor King's whirlwind assault on the apprentices' championship, but he heads to Dundalk this evening with another book of rides that reaffirms his growing reputation.
Since the all-weather campaign began this month, Keane has bagged five winners, equalling his total haul for last winter.
The son of Trim trainer Ger has six spins at the busy Co Louth facility tonight, with four of those, including the nap selection Queen Of The Sand, fancied.
Ger Lyons' dual course winner might have been a fraction unlucky not to beat Rummaging and stable-mate Toccata Blue when third over seven furlongs here two weeks ago, having been forced to delay her run due to a lack of racing room early in the straight.
A still progressive three-year-old, Queen Of The Sand steps up to a mile for the conditions race now and the way that the weights are framed appears to favour her considerably.
Eddie Lynam's Iron Major, which will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh, is the main threat. However, he is rated a pound lower than Queen Of The Sand, so, if you accept that Keane's 3lb claim represents value, he is 5lb wrong with her on the basis that he is conceding a pound.
The Terence O'Brien-trained Timjoe, an emphatic scorer here on Friday, gets the nod to defy a 5lb penalty under Keane in the concluding 12-furlong handicap.
Ado McGuinness' recent course runner-up Golan Heights is tipped to go one better in division two of the extended 10-furlong handicap.
In the first leg of that heat, Keane rides Mount Meru.
Trained on the Curragh by the up-and-coming Ross O'Sullivan, Mount Meru will be fit from two indifferent hurdling starts.
Prior to those, he hadn't run for over a year since leaving Lyons' care, but a 2011 Down Royal victory over seven furlongs off a mark of 74 once saw him rated as high as 79, which was revised to 63 by the time he departed Lyons' stable.
Now, Mount Meru has been eased a further 10lb to 53, with Keane reducing his effective mark to 50. At just four years of age, he surely has the scope to exploit that leniency.