Monday 11 December 2017

Murtagh looking to scale the heights with 'Mountain'

Damien McElroy

Most of the leading riders and top stables are represented on this evening's eight-race card at Wexford, where watering has been utilised in a bid to ensure the ground rides no quicker than good to firm, WRITES DAMIEN McELROY.

Champion jockey Johnny Murtagh and Pat Smullen, as well as Fran Berry, who has set a hectic early pace in the current campaign, will all be hopeful of hitting the target ahead of Guineas weekend.

Murtagh's mount Bridge Mountain, which seems on the upgrade, is bound to take beating on behalf of locally-born champion trainer Aidan O'Brien in the Barrow Maiden that kicks off the Jackpot.

The Powerscourt colt steps up almost a quarter mile in trip here after filling the runner-up berth at Naas last week and the extra distance should suit him, with Lady L appearing the main threat.

Another celebrated Wexford native, Jim Bolger, likewise will be harbouring high hopes of Mianach improving for a greater stamina test in the Black Point Handicap on his Navan second last month to Ghetto Gospel.

Mianach rates as a sporting wager on this occasion to outpace the joint top weights Dragon's Den and Rightside.

The following Owenduff Handicap sees Liam McAteer's versatile Nans Best and Smullen attempt to defy a 6lb penalty for their plucky Clonmel success.

This six-year-old resumes this evening on drier ground and over a shorter journey that might not necessarily be negative if they can force the issue on a safe surface.

Stable companion College Scholar holds each-way claims off a handy mark in the earlier Campile Handicap, even if Desert Romance is preferred under a similar 6lb hike for his latest victory at Killarney.

Second here in the spring and more recently at Down Royal, Lady Chatterbox is napped to secure an overdue bumper win in the easier first division of the mares' race for Jessica and Kate Harrington.

Irish Independent

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