Thursday 14 December 2017

Now Or Never for ageless Fallon

Jockey Kieren Fallon. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Jockey Kieren Fallon. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Kieren Fallon has gradually begun to make an impression following his latest return to this part of the world and his momentum would crank up another notch if Now Or Never were to win tomorrow's Classic trial at Leopardstown.

The former multiple champion has struggled to settle in any one destination in recent times, and his regular cross-channel forays - he was due to ride at Ascot last night and again today - are a reminder that he is continuing to keep his options open.

That is not surprising as he strives to recapture his former glory. Michael O'Callaghan's upwardly mobile Curragh stable was pivotal to Fallon's return to home soil, so it would be fitting if Now Or Never could solidify their partnership.

She looks to have a serious chance in the Derrinstown Stud-sponsored mile contest, which history would suggest isn't really a Classic trial at all. Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore combine for Kind Of Magic and Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen for Emergent, but Now Or Never is the one.

A decisive Galway maiden winner last summer before finishing second to Herald The Dawn in a Curragh Group Two, the daughter of Bushranger split Jet Setting and Alice Springs here over seven furlongs last month.

Those two enhanced that line of form to varying degrees in the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday.

If Now Or Never improves for her first run - which she did last year - then the suspicion is that she will take a bit of stopping here. The card's Derby trial hasn't been relevant in relation to the premier Classic at Epsom for some time. Tomorrow's renewal looks likely to continue that trend.

Weld's once-raced Leopardstown winner Tirmizi could yet prove decent, likewise Jim Bolger's Moonlight Magic, which bombed on deep ground behind Harzand on its return.

O'Brien has four of the eight runners, and there probably won't be too much between them, with Moore on Shogun. That might prove significant.

Shogun's overall profile doesn't jump off the page at you, but closer inspection hints that he has the potential to win this at the very least.


Third in Herald The Dawn's Futurity Stakes, he ran an honest race when held less than two lengths by the unbeaten Ultra in a Longchamp Group One in October, before lacking the gears to make a real impact behind Hit It A Bomb at the Breeders' Cup.

The 2,000 Guineas victor Galileo Gold was third in the Longchamp race, so that reads well. When Shogun returned in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket last month, the betting suggested that he wasn't fancied, but he ran quite well to be third to Stormy Antarctic. If he steps forward for that now, he might take a bit of stopping here.

Earlier on, David O'Meara brings back an old favourite in Custom Cut for the Amethyst Stakes, a Group Three in which Daniel Tudhope's mount would be fancied to successfully concede weight.

The Ger Lyons-trained Toccata Blue stands out off a fair mark under Colin Keane in the seven-furlong handicap, while the day's nap vote falls to Billy's Hope in the mares' maiden hurdle at Limerick.

Jessica Harrington's Robbie Power-ridden daughter of King's Theatre couldn't cope with Jer's Girl in Grade One company at Fairyhouse, but she had consistently shown a decent level of ability prior to that.

If Billy's Hope turns up on top of her game here, she should win this moderate affair with her head in her chest.

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