Sunday 21 January 2018

Moore and Buick can justify Curragh visits

Ryan Moore flies in to partner four for Aidan O’Brien
Ryan Moore flies in to partner four for Aidan O’Brien
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

On a day when Ireland face key internationals in both rugby and soccer, the Curragh will tomorrow host its last major card of the Flat season.

Earlier in the week, aware of the unequal clash with the Ireland-France World Cup match, the marketing team at headquarters pledged free entry to any race-goer sporting an Irish rugby jersey.

Given what transpired on Thursday night, the only wonder is that they didn't extend the offering to those sporting an Irish football jersey and seek to fully capitalise on the carnival atmosphere.

The likelihood is that football fans bedecked in the national colours will also be granted free admission, but it might be an opportunity lost not to have sought to advertise the concession and fill the racecourse bars for the night.

It is a highly competitive card, with the Tote Irish Cesarewitch the flagship event. Ryan Moore flies in to partner four for Aidan O'Brien. Three of the quartet are maidens, and it wouldn't be any surprise were each to oblige.

The most intriguing of the trio is Best In The World, a Galileo full sister to Found.

On Best In The World's debut at Gowran Park, she wasn't unduly punished in finishing second to the more experienced Rayisa.

The likelihood is that she will come on plenty for that experience, and it is surely significant that O'Brien has opted to pitch her straight into Listed company for the Staffordstown Stud Stakes.

Rayisa is again in opposition and the once-raced Curragh winner Zalfana is another filly of some potential. Still, Best In The World is potentially quite special, so a chance is taken on her stepping up.

In the juveniles' maiden, Andy Oliver's Agent Of Chaos is the form option on the back of his second to Hit It A Bomb here two weeks ago.

However, O'Brien's Black Sea is fancied to have a little more up his sleeve.

The penny dropped late for this son of Galileo on his Gowran bow a week earlier, but he surged home to catch the eye in fourth. If he builds on that now, he should take a bit of stopping, and a similar comment applies to Truth in the older fillies' maiden.

A €1m three-parts sister to Chicquita, Truth tired in testing conditions over 12 furlongs on her first outing at Cork. She drops to nine furlongs now, so far more is expected on better ground in a moderate race of its type.

William Buick also flies in for one Godolphin ride. He is on Mick Halford's Toscanini in the six-furlong Listed race, and it will be disappointing if his talented mount doesn't collect.

In the Cesarewitch, there are a number of obvious contenders. Dermot Weld's Silver Concorde is seeking to extend its unbeaten Flat record to three.


In three outings on the level, Pat Fahy's Western Boy has only fallen to the classy Silwana, while Mark Prescott's Sea Pride is one of four cross-channel raiders among the 23-strong field.

Fancied at around 20/1 is Weld's second string, Grecian Tiger. A convincing hurdle winner at Listowel, the six-year-old was beaten just a length here by Western Boy over this two-mile trip in August, when Ted Veale was back in third.

This time, Grecian Tiger is seven pounds better off with Western Boy. He gets in off a trifling 8st 13lb under Leigh Roche.

The suspicion is that Grecian Tiger is starting to fulfil his potential, so he ought to go close.

Tomorrow's nap goes to Perfect Promise in the Munster National at Limerick. This is a competitive edition of the €100,000 handicap chase, with last year's winner Shanpallas sure to be a big player for Charles Byrnes and Barry Geraghty.

Harry Fry's treble-seeking Opening Batsman flies the English flag, but Perfect Promise appeals as being on an upward curve.

Jimmy Mangan's consistent mare strode to victory at Galway last month, denying Shantou Flyer the middle leg of a hat-trick.

All of 16 lengths behind Perfect Promise was the subsequent narrow Kerry National runner-up Urano, so she has the scope to excel for Adrian Heskin off a light weight again here.

The pick of today's domestic contenders might be Churchtown Champ in the maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Mick Winters' point-to-point winner will be sharper for his bumper second at Listowel, so he is napped to confirm his considerable potential under Jonathan Burke.

Irish Independent

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