Friday 23 February 2018

Marakoush can live up to high price tag at Tipperary

Barry Geraghty: Timing everything
Barry Geraghty: Timing everything

Thomas Kelly

Owner Barry Connell and trainer Alan Fleming send out a couple of strong contenders at Tipperary today, with expensive purchase Marakoush an eye-catching runner.

Marakoush was purchased by Connell for €185,000 at Goffs last year and the four-year-old gelding makes its debut over obstacles in the Join The Tipperary Supporter's Club 2016 (C&G) Maiden Hurdle.

The son of Danehill Dancer, a former inmate of John Oxx's Flat operation, was in the frame on his first four starts before shedding his maiden tag with an impressive success at Ballinrobe.

A half-brother to three time Grade Two winner Mourad, Marakoush is taken to get off the mark over hurdles but might have stiff competition from Timing'severything.


The latter won a bumper at the Punchestown Festival in April for Paddy Twomey and he has since been bought by JP McManus. He too makes his debut over flights and has the assistance of Barry Geraghty here for the John Kiely stable.

Henry de Bromhead saddles Gone Platinum and Ordinary World, while newcomer Corskeagh Express represents Noel Meade.

However, Marakoush still gets the verdict and Connell and Fleming can score again later on the card with Loughaderra Prince in the Season Finale Flat Race, with the JP McManus-owned Lieutenant likely to be his main threat.

McManus has a strong shout with Waaheb in the Beginners Chase but Dermot Weld's seven-time winner might not have enough for Colin Bowe's Don Vincenzo.

However, McManus can get among the winners with Finish In Style for Enda Bolger in the Schooling At Tipperary Beginners Chase. The son of Presenting has some decent form in the book and should be good enough to claim this.

Ruby Walsh teams up with his father Ted to take the ride on the hat-trick-seeking Old Castletown in the Tipperary Handicap Chase.

The Fruits Of Love gelding won his last two at Tramore and Clonmel but may have it tough against Lilly The Lioness and The Conker Club in this two-mile-one furlong contest.

Our Sox, Pilgrim Way, Icantsay, Cool Oscar and The Rite Article are a few for the shortlist in a competitive Tipperary Student Day Handicap Hurdle, while Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh can land the opening Follow Tipperary Races On Facebook Mares Maiden Hurdle with Grangeclare Rosa.

Meanwhile, Tony Martin has six of the 56 horses left in the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday following the five-day confirmation stage.

The Co Meath handler, who struck with Leg Spinner in 2007, has last year's third Quick Jack, York handicap winner Heartbreak City, Artful Artist, Cassells Rock, Spacious Sky and Encrypted Message.

Willie Mullins has Digeanta and Renneti while Gordon Elliott completes the Irish interest with Eshtiaal and Bayan.


Ante-post favourite Low Key remains on course to take his chance at the weekend.

David Pipe's dual-purpose eight-year-old picked up a 4lb penalty for winning the Cesarewitch Trial over the course and a distance last month.

The Mark Johnston-trained Oriental Fox now heads the handicap after original top weight after Forever Now was withdrawn.

Mark Prescott is well represented by William Of Orange, High Secret, Moscato, Deauville Dancer, Amour de Nuit and Sea Of Heaven.

Others in the mix include Nearly Caught, First Mohican and Gabrial's King.

Irish Independent

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