Sport Horse Racing

Friday 20 July 2018

Poli Roi can be Ballybrit king for Elliott and Russell

Jockey Bryan Cooper. Photo: PA Wire
Jockey Bryan Cooper. Photo: PA Wire

Thomas Kelly

Former Michael O'Leary stable jockey Bryan Cooper has two mounts for the Gigginstown operation at Galway today, but the Tralee-born rider - recently linked with a high-profile move to England - is unlikely to visit the winner's enclosure.

The Kerryman's first mount at Ballybrit today is in the opening maiden hurdle aboard the Henry de Bromhead-trained Trainwreck, but this contest is likely to go to fellow Gigginstown prospect Poli Roi, the mount of Davy Russell for Gordon Elliott.

This five-year-old was a very smart bumper performer last season and on the back of its fine third to Fayonagh at Punchestown, this winning 'pointer' should oblige if jumping adequately on its debut over hurdles.

Russell also rides for Elliott in the feature event on the card, the Ryans Cleaning Chase, with the Youghal native aboard the long-absent Mala Beach. This nine-year-old numbers a second place in the Thyestes Chase among some decent runs over fences, but he will do well to be on top of his game after 561 days off the track due to knee problems.

A safer option looks to be Noel Meade's A Genie In A Bottle which can strike on its seasonal debut in the hands of Sean Flanagan if repeating the form of its third to Disko at Punchestown last April, with the Willie Mullins-trained Arbre De Vie looking the main threat.

Cooper's other booked mount is also for De Bromhead who saddles Calino D'Airy in the beginners' chase over two and a quarter miles, but worryingly this fencing debutant fell on his previous outing, over hurdles.

A more straightforward alternative is Meade-trained Bel Ami De Sivola which also sports the famous maroon and white O'Leary silks. The six-year-old has the benefit of an outing over the larger obstacles - a respectable third to Call The Taxie at Navan earlier this month - and Flanagan should be able to put his experience to good use.

Meade will also have high hopes in the bumper for Dromahane 'point' winner First Approach as he teams up with Nina Carberry who has ridden four winners from ten mounts since her comeback from giving birth to her first child.

However, Mullins' Jonnigraig is taken to go one better than its encouraging debut second at Killarney.

Elsewhere, Michael Stoute's Expert Eye and Verbal Dexterity are among 15 juveniles confirmed for Saturday's Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

It is 31 years since Stoute claimed his one and only previous victory in the Group One contest with Ajdal, but in the unbeaten Expert Eye he has a leading contender for this season's renewal.

Jim Bolger has saddled five previous winners of the Dewhurst and has not made any secret of the regard in which he holds Verbal Dexterity, which won the National Stakes in impressive style.

This year's dual 2,000 Guineas hero Churchill provided Aidan O'Brien with a fifth Dewhurst 12 months ago and the Ballydoyle supremo has seven entries, including Middle Park victor U S Navy Flag, Champagne Stakes winner Seahenge and dual Group One-winning filly Happily, which beat the colts on Arc day at Chantilly.

Irish Independent

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