Saturday 17 February 2018

O'Connor should find the right 'Tempo'

Trainer Gordon Elliott has nurtured jockey Jack Kennedy
Trainer Gordon Elliott has nurtured jockey Jack Kennedy

Johnny Ward

Trainer Johnny Levins once described him as a young Richard Hughes and, while he has a long way to go to justify such praise, Donagh O'Connor is unquestionably one of Ireland's most promising riders.

And given Gordon Elliott's nurturing of the incredibly precocious Jack Kennedy, that the Longwood trainer and O'Connor team up in the West Coast Cooler Apprentice Handicap is noteworthy. Tempo Mac, a son of the enigmatic Antonius Pius, has already spurned a couple of chances to exploit a Flat rating that is anomalous considering his hurdling ability but he is worth another.

Frustratingly, he went up 8lb for those defeats but gets into this 0-65 and it is likely his last chance in the class for now. Elliott likes Down Royal and may target hunter contests with Roi Du Mee at the Maze this year, as he yesterday received a hunter's cert for the campaign.

Kennedy has a rare spin on the level in the West Coast Cooler Fashion Week Ulster Cesarewitch, aboard Automated. They failed as an axis in Galway but there was no shame then in finishing third in a more competitive contest than tonight's.

Delegating almost landed a little gamble at the same venue and he may make all from a lovely low draw in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Auction Maiden under the promising Sean Davis.

Dermot Weld aims tomorrow to win the Irish Champion Stakes for the first time. He has two runners in the big one but a potential favourite today, Waitaki, may have to play a supporting role to the luckless Accalia in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden.

Irish Independent

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