Monday 11 December 2017

Lee set for winning start to Killarney Festival on Vasoni

Billy Lee will hoep to steer Vasoni to victory in Killarney. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Billy Lee will hoep to steer Vasoni to victory in Killarney. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

BILLY LEE, who was brilliant in traversing the track on Accepted to win Saturday's Listed race at Tipperary, is trusted to get Vasoni back to the winner's enclosure on the opening leg of Killarney's popular four-day July Festival this evening.

Tim Doyle's six-year-old mare tackles the O'Keeffe's Marquee Hire Rathmore Handicap over a mile. She hasn't won since scoring for a second time at Sligo last year off 65, but she has steadily improved this term, latterly beaten just a couple of lengths over seven furlongs at Roscommon.

That was a deceptively encouraging turn off a rating of 67, so Vasoni has plenty of appeal under Lee now she has been eased back to a mark of 65.

Granted, she would appreciate a bit more cut in the ground than she is likely to get, but the fact remains that she now looks very favourably treated.

Of Vasoni's seven rivals, Teocht is maybe the main danger, as she lines out under just a five-pound penalty following her decisive win at Leopardstown on Thursday.

The €50,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Listed Stakes is the card's main event, and it is well contested with 13 runners.

The likes of Sparkle Factor and Achnaha are on the way up, but this really should be there for the taking for Palace. Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old is the only one of these to boast a rating of over 100.

Having made her career bow in April, Palace has won her maiden in style, been just denied in a Group Three, finished fifth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and run well in the Oaks when her stamina was stretched.

At Naas last time, she just lost out to the useful Carla Bianca in a similar race to this, so she can overcome the slight drop in trip to get back to winning ways under Seamie Heffernan.

Ger Lyons and Colin Keane should take all the beating in the two-year-olds' race with the facile Down Royal scorer The Ice Meister, while Willie Mullins could plunder two of the three National Hunt races.

After an encouraging effort to be third in a decent contest at Punchestown, the Paul Townend-ridden Daisy's Gift should be too good in the Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Maiden Hurdle, while the Clonmel victor Daring Carlotta is the day's nap vote in the bumper.

At Downpatrick, Orgilgo Bay should take the conditions hurdle for John McConnell and Mark Bolger. The Fred Winter Hurdle third hasn't quite fulfilled his potential yet, but he is a better horse than any of his four rivals.

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