Thursday 22 March 2018

Maarek can make light work of rivals for Nagle

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

WHILE the Curragh's season finale will now take place on Tuesday following the addition of a replacement fixture, tomorrow's Irish Cesarewitch programme remains the de facto climax to the campaign at headquarters.

On a decent spread that also boasts three well-contested Listed races worth a combined €122,000, the likelihood of heavy ground has done little perceptible damage to the turnout.

Indeed, the testing going ensures the presence of Maarek in the Testimonial Stakes, and David Nagle's well-travelled sprinter is napped to prevail.

On figures, Colour Of Love and Lady Wingshot pose the most likely threats to the selection, while Hurricane Twister, a handicap springer for Victor Clifford's modest Castlemartyr stable in recent weeks, is also respected on this step up in grade.

Nonetheless, Maarek continues to thrive for his Fethard-based handler. Twice a Group Three winner in the mud this term before finishing third under a huge burden off a mark of 114 in the Ayr Gold Cup, he is well suited by this six furlongs.

And, despite conceding weight all round, Maarek still emerges the clear pick at the weights -- his class should tell under Joseph O'Brien.

O'Brien could also take the Finale Stakes on father Aidan's Chamonix, which meets last year's Cesarewitch hero Minsk on one-pound worse terms than at Listowel. On that occasion, Chamonix made all to streak clear with ease, and he stands out again in this company.

The Ballydoyle rider is on Dot Love's prolific Shadow Eile -- twice a winner in three outings during a belated start to its Flat career this term -- in what is a mind-boggling 27-runner edition of this year's Hacketts Bookmakers Cesarewitch.

Dermot Weld's Hidden Universe makes its first start in the two-mile handicap since winning the November equivalent at Leopardstown in 2011, while the Mick Winters-trained Missunited bids for her fifth win on the spin under Seamie Heffernan.

The €37,800 first prize will be hard won, and it is Seventh Sigh that is fancied to bring the curtain down on an excellent comeback year for Tommy Carmody at the Pollardstown handler's local track.

A progressive three-year-old, Seventh Sign impressed in winning three on the spin up to Killarney in September.

Irish Independent

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