Wednesday 17 January 2018

Murtagh praises Look At Me after fine debut victory

Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Getty Images
Aidan O'Brien. Photo: Getty Images

Thomas Kelly

Aidan O'Brien's Look At Me might prove well-named with the future in mind after making an impressive debut in yesterday's juvenile fillies maiden at Fairyhouse.

Sent into the lead a furlong from home, the daughter of Danehill Dancer kept on strongly to score by a length-and- three-quarters from Shelley Beach.

A clearly impressed Johnny Murtagh said: "She's a nice one and showed a great turn of foot, despite being green. She is one of the nicest two-year-olds I've ridden this year and has a big future."

O'Brien's son Joseph was in double form, taking the Dunshaughlin Handicap on Aladdins Cave for Colm Murphy, and following up on the Pat Flynn-trained Waydownsouth in the Derrinstown Apprentice Handicap.

There was a fright for young O'Brien on Aladdins Cave, however, as he eased the 5/1 chance down in the closing stages and was almost caught by Saajidah, who was a short-head away from giving Kevin Prendergast a 2,000th career winner.

The young Ballydoyle apprentice was denied a treble aboard favourite Sean Og Coulston in the concluding Oldcastle Race when Gary Carroll booted home the gambled-on Hawkhill (7s into 4s) -- putting Carroll one clear of Ben Curtis and six ahead of O'Brien in the race to be champion apprentice.

The big earner on the day was Stand To Attention, which will step up in class after landing the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes.

Paul Deegan's youngster had finished out of the money in fifth spot when making his debut just eight days earlier, but wasted no more time in paying his way, netting €74,000 for his connections after powering into the lead in the final half-furlong under Chris Hayes.

The action continues at Ballinrobe today where Alpha Ridge should make most of the softening ground in the conditions chase. Paul Carberry's mount has shown plenty of ability in five starts over fences and has every chance of getting his new campaign off to a winning start.

Paul Nolan's eight-year-old finished second three times last season, including when seven lengths adrift of Pandorama in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse, and was pulled up in the Irish Grand National last time. Dermot Weld's Bobs Pride heads the opposition, which also includes recent Listowel winner Essex, the in-form So Determined and high-class hurdler Farringdon.

Nolan will also be hoping for a big run from Limerick bumper winner Westmeath in the opening maiden hurdle, in which the opposition is not particularly strong.


The classy Head Of The Posse has not had much racing for a seven-year-old and his introduction to fencing will be of particular interest in the Beginners Chase.

Representing trainer John Kiely and owner JP McManus, Head Of The Posse is making his seasonal debut, having beaten Deutschland in a hurdles race at Sligo in May when last seen.The McManus colours will also be carried by Tom Taaffe's Smoking Aces, another who could make an impact over fences.

Willie Mullins brings back Corkonian from a lay-off of nearly a year-and-a-half in the Maiden Hurdle, the six-year-old having finished second to the top-class Luska Lad in a bumper on his last run. That was only his second outing, having got home by a short head in a similar race at Clonmel on his racecourse bow.

Irish Independent

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