Saturday 26 May 2018

Now Or Never can deny Cregg Pipes in feature

Slattery: High hopes for Cregg Pipes. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Slattery: High hopes for Cregg Pipes. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Co. Tipperary handler Andrew Slattery bids to keep the Group Three spoils at home as he sends out progressive filly Creggs Pipes to contest the Coolmore Stud Fairy Bridge Stakes this evening.

The four-year-old has been on a gradual upward curve all summer and took her winning run to four when lifting an ultra-competitive handicap at the Galway Festival a month ago.

Slattery believes there is more improvement to come and has high hopes that Declan McDonogh's mount will cope with the step-up in class at Tipperary this evening.

"She seems good. We'll see how she matches up. It's another step up for her into Group Three company," said the Thurles trainer. "We're giving it a go. She owes us nothing. She's been in good form since Galway and it looks the ideal race - if she's Group Three placed, it will be a step forward."

Cregg Pipes has her work cut out to get the better of Michael O'Callaghan's classy three-year-old Now Or Never which is likely to return to Group One grade if she passes this test over an extended seven furlongs.

Now Or Never's big target is the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on September 10.

She was last seen finishing a highly respectable fourth to Qemah in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, and, according to O'Callaghan, this contest is the ideal prep race before she tackles top company again. However, the Kerry native is slightly concerned about the ground becoming too heavy.

"Now Or Never is in great form. The heavy ground is a bit of a worry, so we will walk the track and see what condition it's in," O'Callaghan said.

Patrick Prendergast's Lina De Vega is a bit of a dark horse, but on the basis of her debut success in a Curragh maiden in mid-July, Ronan Whelan's mount will do well to keep tabs on the two principals.

The Kilfrush Stud Abergwaun Stakes carries Listed status and sees a marked drop in class and trip for one of the most popular Flat horses in training, Gordon Lord Byron.

Tom Hogan's admirable eight-year-old showed a return to form at this venue three starts back before landing the Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh and he can be forgiven his poor run in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

In the nine-furlong fillies' maiden, Dermot Weld's five-time runner-up Creme De La is given one last chance to break her duck although Jim Bolger's once-raced Girl Of The Hour will attract plenty of support.

The concluding Meadowview Stables Race presents a good opportunity for Laganore to regain the winning thread for the in-form Tony Martin. Fourth to Journey at Haydock at the end of May, the four-year-old has proven her ability to handle these conditions and can claim the spoils at the main expense of Weld's Munaashid.

Irish Independent

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