Wednesday 21 March 2018

McCreery to maintain fine winning run

Trainer Willie McCreery. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile
Trainer Willie McCreery. Photo: Barry Cregg / Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Eight winners this month alone for Curragh handler Willie McCreery, and he will likely be confident of a ninth at Cork this evening.

The former Kildare great has developed an excellent axis with Billy Lee and the pair can take the fillies' sprint maiden with Angelique. This filly is from the first crop of Dawn Approach, and there is every chance that she will provide the sire with his first winner.

Angelique made a really bright start over the course and distance when third, the winner then - Mamba Noire - likely bound for the Queen Mary.

Whatever odds she will be, Sioux Nation will be shorter. This smart colt was turned over at odds-on at Leopardstown on his second start, yet he is straightforward and it is hard to see anything beating him in the opener.

Rain is expected in the Mallow region and that will be no issue for Bluesbreaker, one to keep an eye on in the sprint handicap. He has won on good and also on heavy, including at Cork, and he is dangerously well-treated now.

John Feane is a trainer worth following and he could strike with Twist Of Magic in the other sprint handicap.

Aidan O'Brien, who trains Sioux Nation, will fancy a double as Venezuela looks difficult to take on in the mile maiden. The Galileo colt is out of Charlotte Bronte, a smart mare for David Wachman, and he may have needed the outing when fourth on his reappearance.

Dermot Weld enjoyed a terrific victory at Belmont in New York last weekend with Zhukova, advertising that he still thinks outside the box like few others. Bee Queen, which runs in the famous Khalid Abdullah colours, may improve into a stakes-class filly and she has every chance in the auction fillies' maiden.

Ripped should knock on the door again in the nightcap, but preference is for Gordon Elliott's Walkabout. Surely he can snare a Flat handicap off 51, considering he is rated 115 over hurdles.

Elliott should have some joy at Downpatrick, a track where he is consistently the top trainer. The somewhat frustrating Canny Tom has another chance in the opening heat but will struggle to beat Atlantic Breaker if that one runs as he did here last time. His trainer, Mark McNiff, also has a fine record at the Co Down venue.

The Kilmore Rec & Corner Inn Bar Rated Novice Hurdle is a nice race. Elliott's Polymath, touched off over the course and distance last time, is a tentative selection under 7lb claimer Chris Meehan, who is seeking his first winner.

There is no getting away from how poor a race the Coors Lite Handicap Steeplechase is and, even though horses owned by JP McManus often improve for their first handicap, Kilclispeen may be anomalous in that regard here.

Irish Independent

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