Sunday 21 January 2018

Passage's absence leaves Saval Beg door open for Pale mimosa

Thomas Kelly

RITE Of Passage's absence from this evening's Seamus & Rosemary McGrath Memorial Saval Beg Stakes takes away from the Leopardstown card somewhat, but Dermot Weld will be hoping Pale Mimosa can prove an able deputy.

Weld has opted not to run the former Ascot Gold Cup winner because of the fast ground, leaving the door open for his younger stablemate to shine.

Like Rite Of Passage, Pale Mimosa carries the recognisable silks of Dr Ronan Lambe and she is a promising stayer, having won twice from four starts – in the process claiming a Listed event at York last summer.

She makes her first start since October in this one-mile-six-furlong test and Pat Smullen's mount is likely to face her biggest threat in the shape of Aidan O'Brien's Salvador.

A progressive four-year-old, the Ballydoyle inmate finished behind Pale Mimosa's stablemate Voleuse De Coeurs last time out and, on that running, has ground to make up on another of tonight's rivals Missunited.

However, Joseph O'Brien's mount looks sure to benefit from the conditions and should challenge Weld's charge which is given a sporting nap vote.

Weld and Smullen are also taken to strike in the night's other Listed contest, the King George V Cup, with the lightly raced Resolute Response.

This 11-furlong event is quite competitive, with David Wachman having two in-form representatives – Fighter Squadron and Seussical – and O'Brien taking his chance with a strong contender in Count Of Limonade.

Dibayani, from the Michael Halford yard, is another candidate which warrants the utmost respect. While he has failed to visit the winner's enclosure on his last four outings, the Aga Khan-owned colt has run some sound races in defeat since winning a Curragh maiden last summer – figuring prominently behind the likes of Battle Of Marengo, First Cornerstone and Fort Knox.

Despite Dibayani's solid credentials, Resolute Response looks a progressive colt worth keeping the right side of following his impressive success in a mile-and-a-quarter maiden at Naas.

O'Brien's well-bred debutant War Command is likely to attract plenty support in the opening juvenile maiden over seven furlongs, but Jim Bolger's Intensified is a more solid option, having already had the benefit of a run when runner-up at the Curragh.

Irish Independent

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