Monday 20 November 2017

Lyons' Sea Wolf to bare teeth and pile more pain on Baraweez

Right Honourable (front and centre), with Pat Smullen up, on the way to winning the Maiden. Picture Credit: PA Wire
Right Honourable (front and centre), with Pat Smullen up, on the way to winning the Maiden. Picture Credit: PA Wire
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

A year after being carried out on his shield in a thrilling ding-dong battle with Hint Of A Tint, Baraweez returns to his beloved Galway for another stab at the €120,000 Colm Quinn BMW Mile.

In 2013, Brian Ellison's redoubtable six-year-old had kept on well to be third to Vastonea.

Last year, defeat came in contrasting style, as he led early in the straight before getting overhauled by the eventual winner.

On both occasions, Baraweez gained a measure of compensation by plundering Sunday's Ahonoora showpiece.

He is again likely to tackle that €100,000 contest in five days' time, but connections would surely love to finally snare this considerably more prestigious event.

For Daniel Redmond's mount, then, Ellison will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky. The Yorkshire handler will saddle three in all, with Top Notch Tonto and Stipulate providing able back-up.

Colin Keane is trusted to overcome a middling draw aboard Sea Wolf. Picture Credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Colin Keane is trusted to overcome a middling draw aboard Sea Wolf. Picture Credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE


Ger Lyons' 2013 hero Brendan Brackan is also back for another go, and the Meath handler has a second live prospect in Sea Wolf.

Of course, no-one has enjoyed more glory in this esteemed handicap than the mighty Dermot Weld. The Ballybrit colossus relies on two at opposite ends of the weight spectrum in his quest for an incredible eighth triumph in the race.

Pat Smullen will take the reins aboard Ashraf, with Leigh Roche falling in for the plum spare on the lightly-weighted Karalara.

All told, the 18-runner affair promises to be another cracking edition of a race that rarely fails to live up to its billing.

The undercard is also intriguing, with Briar Hill a particularly interesting addition to the proceedings.

A Grade One winner that looked to have the world at its feet as a novice hurdler, little has gone right for Willie Mullins' injury-plagued eight-year-old since he crashed early at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

He has fallen again since in one of just four starts in the interim, but he switches to fences today.

At this stage, it looks to be a move that could make or break Ruby Walsh's mount.

5.15 Colm Quinn BMW Novices' Hurdle (2m)

Oathkeeper eventually got the job done quite well in Killarney. A dual bumper winner, he has a big engine, and the main concern here would be whether the drop back to two miles on a sharp track might render him vulnerable.

In contrast, Gunner McGregor showed a nice turn of foot to add a Limerick hurdle win to his previous bumper success. He is a horse that could well be up to this standard; likewise Hudson's Bay, which emerged with credit when second to Tesseract in Killarney.

Penhill burst blood vessels when under-performing at the same venue, so that must be a concern. His Willie Mullins stablemate Master Of Verse has run into a couple lately, but it is possible that the return to two miles will suit, given his aggressive style of racing.

The Limerick winner Billy's Hope is nicely in at the weights, while Three Wise Men is on the up. He won tidily on his Fairyhouse track bow and was then a fine third in a decent race at Punchestown.

Andrew Lynch's mount will enjoy this surface and can progress.

Verdict: Worth taking a chance on Three Wise Men delivering.


5.45 Latin Quarter Beginners' Chase (2m 2f)

There is surely no better horse in the race than Briar Hill. A Grade One winner in 2013, he has struggled to find that form in an injury-plagued stint since then.

Briar Hill has always looked made for chasing, though he would probably appreciate a decent drop of rain.

Draco has the benefit of an encouraging turn when third to Akito over fences at Killarney.

He will be all the better for that and has twice gone close here in the past, so his claims are obvious.

Tocororo gets all the allowances, which should give her a chance if she takes to chasing.

Another of interest is Theos Well. He has fencing experience and will appreciate a decent surface.

Verdict: If Draco runs to his best, he is best equipped for this challenge.


6.15 Colm Quinn BMW EBF Fillies' Maiden (7f)

This is all about Eziyra. She looked as though she might have won at Tipperary with a more aggressive drive, so it will be a surprise if she doesn't confirm that impression.

Of the others, Magen's Moon has shown ability, while newcomer Falling Leaves is bred to be of the highest calibre.

Verdict: Eziyra is drawn wide enough but Pat Smullen knows his way around here.


6.50 Caulfield Industrial EBF Maiden (7f)

On ratings, Saafarr sets the standard. He is dropping in trip, having run well in defeat in good company over a mile and 10 furlongs this year.

Sikandarabad has a visor applied. Second to a decent animal in Painted Cliffs on his Leopardstown bow over six, he will be sharper and fitter now.

Secret Wizard might be the pick of the rest but he has passed up a few chances already.

Verdict: On just its second start, Sikandarabad has the scope to step up.


7.20 Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap (1m)

Baraweez has twice been placed in this and loves it here, but he has been set a tall task off a high mark and a wide draw.

Brendan Brackan is interesting. First-time blinkers reflect that he hasn't been performing to his best of late, but he is also in off a mark of 101, which is the lowest that he has run off for three years. He danced up in this in 2013 and could be a player again.

Smullen's mount Ashraf sports a first-time visor. He is unexposed and would appreciate some give in the ground, while we know even less about its Weld stablemate Karalara.

She had the stamina to win over 10 furlongs on her second start at Navan last time, and she will need that up the hill here, despite the drop in trip. Like Ashraf, she is nicely drawn, but she has a feather weight.

Creggs Pipes reverts to handicap company after a Listed Killarney win. She is a stone higher than when winning at the Curragh previously, but is a tough customer.

Having got closest to Endless Drama last time, General Macarthur is fascinating on his handicap bow, although his draw is not ideal.

Ringside Humour hasn't fared too well in that respect either. She is highly progressive, as may be Sea Wolf. He is 11lb higher than when stamping his authority all over a seven-furlong Curragh handicap on his bow for Ger Lyons, but this may still be within his range.

Verdict: Colin Keane is trusted to overcome a middling draw aboard Sea Wolf.


7.50 Caulfield Industrial Handicap (7f)

Malinka drops notably in trip after labouring to victory in deep ground at Limerick. She didn't beat much but Weld obviously has his reasons for targeting this.

Regulars like Bainne, Could Would Should and last year's winner Beau Satchel will have their chance. Beau Satchel, a dual winner here, is 3lb lower than when successful 12 months ago and is nicely drawn.

Beat The Ballot has fared less well in that regard. He is 2lb higher than when beaten a couple of lengths in 2015. He only just lost out to the in-form Mr Right at Naas, so he is in good heart.

Verdict: Beat The Ballot can build on its gallant latest turn.


8.20 Handicap (2m)

Winter Lion found for pressure to dead-heat over this trip at Limerick, although he didn't see out his race in this last year.

Both he and Neatly Put sport first-time cheek-pieces, the latter having run well behind Xsquared and Black Label at Killarney. Black Label also goes again here, while the upwardly mobile Grey Sky Blue tries this extended trip for a first time, as does Monocle, which has hinted at ability.

Spacious Sky is potentially well treated. He ran well in the Monday feature two years ago off 83, but his mark has plummeted to 68. In first-time blinkers, he could figure.

Verdict: If Spacious Sky recaptures his best for Colm O'Donoghue, he has a life.

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