Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Military Angel ready to fly in Killarney

Aidan O’Brien's Rosshaven Lady is preferred in the bumper
Aidan O’Brien's Rosshaven Lady is preferred in the bumper
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Fledgling trainer Michael O'Callaghan has fashioned a decent reputation for himself in a short period of time and the Kerry native is tipped to bag tonight's Listed race in Killarney with Military Angel.

Last year, Curragh-based O'Callaghan enjoyed his best season since acquiring his licence in 2012, bagging four winners from 39 turf runners for a 10pc yield. This term, despite losing the smart State Of Emergency to injury in May, he is already 5-36 for 14pc.

O'Callaghan is one of a number of upwardly mobile young handlers with a keen business sense, and Military Angel appeals as nap material to secure him a breakthrough Pattern race victory in tonight's €55,000 feature on day one of the picturesque venue's four-day July gathering.

Having beaten Devonshire - placed in this year's Irish 1,000 Guineas - on her Roscommon debut last year, the daughter of Big Brown was highly tried early on this term by the Tralee native.

When third in a Leopardstown Group Three on her return, she split Devonshire and the 1,000 Guineas heroine Legatissimo, but then capitulated in the fillies' mile Classic on the Curragh. Military Angel was then set a more realistic assignment at Listed level at Naas, where she didn't get the run of the race in finishing fourth.

O'Callaghan reverted to handicap company with her for a decent heat at the Curragh on Irish Derby weekend, when she was again a shade unlucky, just being denied a short-head by Colour Blue after challenging late. If nothing else, her two latest displays confirmed that she is well in herself.

Fran Berry's mount is the second highest rated of the 10 runners here off 98, so she is fancied to gain a deserved success from a decent draw in stall three. Shay Barry's top-rated Akira has plenty to do on her reappearance, and it might be that Ballydoyle's Easter will be among the selection's main threats.

Jim Bolger's relentless bandwagon can plunder the opening juveniles' maiden with Brontide, a two-time runner-up that, as a half-brother to Pleascach, ought to appreciate this step up to an extended mile.

Denis Hogan could secure his fourth successive win in the card's 11-furlong handicap with Tunnel Tiger. Placed six times last year off marks of between 57 and 60, Tunnel Tiger has dropped to 48 since joining the shrewd Hogan. Back over his best trip now, he could go close for Leigh Roche.

Over hurdles, Harry Kelly's Davids Jewel gets the nod to build on her honest Gowran Park second under Sean Flanagan in the mares' maiden hurdle. The daughter of King's Theatre sports a hood for a first time here, which Kelly clearly believes might aid her cause.

In fairness, she didn't do much wrong when denied just a short-head by Thanks For Tea at Gowran, having also filled the same berth at Tipperary on her penultimate start. If the hood does have a positive influence, Davids Jewel is the one to beat.

In the bumper, Aidan O'Brien's Rosshaven Lady is preferred to Sam Curling's Ballinderry Moth, which won in style here in May. Rosshaven Lady swished her tail when winning at Limerick for the trainer's daughter Sarah, but that looked a better race.

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