Wednesday 24 January 2018

Memphis can rock in opener

Thomas Kelly

THE splitting of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden means tonight's meeting at Dundalk begins at 6.0 and Memphis Tennessee will be aiming to strike early for Aidan O'Brien.

The 150,000gns Hurricane Run colt offered encouragement on his debut at Cork in August and given time to strengthen up since then, is expected to leave that behind.

Giant Serapis sets a decent standard, though, and finished second to subsequent Group One winner Recital before a slightly disappointing third at Leopardstown, where the re-opposing Sportsmaster was one place ahead of him.

O'Brien's Long Live The King tackles the second division and bids to atone for a costly failure at this venue last month, with Miss Windley and John Oxx's newcomer Narjawa the biggest threats.

The Oxx-trained Swing Pattern came close to breaking his duck at Cork on his most recent appearance and will be aiming to go one better in the mile maiden.

Sahaayeb and Bosphorus Queen return from long spells on the sidelines, so Dermot Weld's Astrakham could give Swing Pattern most to think about.

The richest race on the card comes in the Handicap, where O'Brien again flexes Ballydoyle's muscle with recent course second Greatwallofchina.

He has never made an impact over this shorter six-furlong trip, so the one to be on could be recent winner Iron Major, though Solent Ridge and Mountain Coral cannot be ignored either.

David Wachman has an interesting challenger in the Nursery Handicap in recent Leopardstown third Quaintly, but O'Brien's Harrison's Cave and the Kieran Purcell-trained Burrenbridge Lodge will ensure this is a real test.

Mark Johnston will be hoping first-time blinkers do the trick for Herostatus in the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap.

The Christmas Party Packages at Dundalk Apprentice Handicap could be between Ionisphere and Mr Pianist, where Joseph O'Brien will aim to close on joint-leader Ben Curtis.

Irish Independent

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