Saturday 18 January 2020

Khyber Pass can open Lynam account

Richard Forristal

EDDIE LYNAM – the top trainer in last season's inaugural all-weather championship – is expected to get off the mark for the current campaign at Dundalk tonight.

A week ago, the Dunshaughlin handler hit the bar twice at the Co Louth facility, but his booking of the useful 7lb claimer Gary Phillips on Khyber Pass in the six-furlong handicap sways the nap selection in that direction now.

At the beginning of the month, the pacy front-runner was only foiled at the death by Rummaging.

Khyber Pass returns now off the same mark but when you factor in Phillips' allowance he is left with just 7st 11lb to carry. Off such a low weight, he could prove very hard to pass if he builds up an early head of steam once again.

Lynam is also fancied to take the concluding 12-furlong handicap with four-time course winner Denny Crane.

The Wayne Lordan-ridden runner shaped encouragingly when fourth here on his first start since May at the end of last month, and he is just 1lb higher than when scoring his last victory at the track 12 months ago.

In division one of the mile maiden, Mick Halford's once-raced Lily Of Kenmare, third in the race that Khyber Pass was second in, is a live contender. Most of her main rivals are exposed, with the possible exception of Tommy Carmody's Benbecula.

Another intriguing Andrew Tinkler-owned import, the son of Motivator was second to a couple of useful animals in two of its four starts for Richard Hannon in the spring.

Niall McCullagh's mount has obviously been given time to develop since, and the drop back to a mile might just bring out the best in him on his stable bow.

Earlier, Joseph O'Brien could make his first ride as champion jockey a winning one when he partners In Salutem for Ken Condon in the opening juvenile maiden.

Just denied here by Zalty a fortnight ago, the chestnut gelding has the right man on board to make plenty of use of him now that he drops back to the minimum trip.

Irish Independent

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