Saturday 19 October 2019

Maarek to bypass Sole Power duel and head for the Curragh

Richard Forristal

Haydock's loss will be the Curragh's gain on Saturday as David Nagle looks set to swerve the opportunity to provide a mouth-watering first clash between two of Ireland's finest sprinters by targeting the Greenlands Stakes with Maarek.

Sole Power – Eddie Lynam's recent Newmarket winner – is heading to Haydock for the Group Two Temple Stakes, with Fran Berry (pictured right) confirmed as the six-year-old's stand-in rider due to Johnny Murtagh being on duty at the Curragh.

Maarek has an entry in both races, but Saturday's Weatherbys-sponsored Group Three at headquarters is the preferred option according to the soft ground-lover's Fethard-based handler.

"We are leaning towards the Curragh at the moment as showers are forecast before the weekend, and he would prefer the six furlongs there over the five furlongs in Haydock," Nagle explained of his stable star.

A stylish victor over five furlongs on his reappearance at Naas, Maarek ran well when fifth to Society Rock at York last week, with Tom Hogan's Gordon Lord Byron third.

Along with Sole Power, which should get its favoured fast ground in at the weekend, they are the country's three best sprinters, an unusual collective in that none represents the traditional superpowers.

Hogan's charge – top-rated of the busy trio on 117, three pounds superior to Maarek and another one above Sole Power – could meet Maarek again in Saturday's six-furlong contest. But, an intriguing and unprecedented five-furlong duel between Maarek and Sole Power at Haydock now looks doubtful.

Lynam has declared himself satisfied with Viztoria ahead of his exciting three-year-old's date with destiny in Sunday's Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas. Beaten just once in four starts, Viztoria was a facile winner of the Athasi Stakes last time.

"She is in good form," he said of the Airlie Stud-bred filly. "We'll be declaring her on Friday and Johnny Murtagh will ride. She'll run whatever the ground."

Patrick Prendergast, meanwhile, has revealed that the prospect of quick going will mean that his Sandown Classic trial winner Sugar Boy will probably skip Sunday's Airlie-sponsored Gallinule Stakes in favour of the Nijinsky Stakes at Leopardstown on June 7.

Prendergast said that his Authorized colt, whose only defeat in five starts since August came when he was second to leading Epsom Derby candidate Battle Of Marengo in last month's Ballysax Stakes, would then be aimed at the Irish Derby.

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Welcome to Irish rugby's biggest week - is an upset on the cards?

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport