Tuesday 20 February 2018

Raydara primed and ready to show her Classic potential

Raydara ridden by Shane Foley
Raydara ridden by Shane Foley

Thomas Kelly

Mick Halford will be hoping that Raydara can prove herself a filly of Classic potential at Leopardstown this evening.

The daughter of Rock Of Gilbraltar lines up in the Silver Flash Stakes with a favourite's chance on the basis of her impressive victory over course and distance last week.

The Aga Khan-owned juvenile justified her odds-on tag by making all to go one better than her debut run, in which she finished runner-up to Aidan O'Brien's highly-regarded Words at the Curragh.

With a lack of Group options until the end of next month, Halford said yesterday that he has no worries about sending her out so soon.

"She's in good form after her race last week and didn't have a particularly hard race, so we said we'd pull her out again as there was nowhere else to go until the Debutante," the Co Kildare trainer explained.

"She has a nice draw and this race will tell us more about her. All you can do is produce them in good form and I'm happy with her."

Shane Foley's mount had the O'Brien pair, Cocoon and Qualify, well behind her last week, so the main danger could well be Agnes Stewart from the in-form Eddie Lynam yard.

The daughter of Lawman left a lasting impression when sluicing up on her debut at Fairyhouse and it was interesting to hear Lynam speak of her highly afterwards.

O'Brien, meanwhile, looks to have the answer in the Tyros Stakes with Gleneagles, although Ger Lyons will certainly fancy his chances of securing back-to-back wins.

Lyons' talented Exogenesis took this Group Three contest 12 months ago and his Convergence has already won over course and distance, a race in which he had Gleneagles over three lengths behind him in fourth.

However, there's good reason for believing that the Ballydoyle representative can gain his revenge as that was Gleneagles' first run and he has since shown marked improvement to land a Curragh maiden.

Completing what is a disappointing turnout of just three runners for a €39,000 contest is Dermot Weld's Tombelaine, which made a winning debut at this track last month.

On that occasion, the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt beat O'Brien's Highland Reel and the runner-up has since franked the form by landing a Curragh maiden by 12 lengths.

Earlier, the Highland Reel formline is fancied to get another major boost from Hall Of Mirrors in the opening juvenile maiden over a mile.

A full-brother to Parish Hall, Jim Bolger's charge was well held in third behind Highland Reel, but that experience might be enough to see him edge out O'Brien debutant John F Kennedy.

O'Brien's youngest son Donnacha gets his chance to show his wares in the 14-furlong handicap aboard Egyptian Warrior, which runs in the colours of his mother Ann Marie.

There will be a fair bit of sibling rivalry on display here as brother Joseph partners John Constable, which is bidding to recover from a disappointing run at the Curragh earlier this month.

Recent course winner Strandfield Lady and the Lyons-trained Snowmane are sure to figure, but with the youngest of the O'Briens claiming 10lbs off Egyptian Warrior, the top-weight gets the verdict.

O'Brien can also strike down at Limerick where jumping fans are well catered for.

Beach Of Falesa carries the Ballydoyle flag in the colours of JP McManus in the Mares Novice Hurdle, and with the good ground in her favour, Mark Walsh's mount should be good enough to see off of Elsie.

Feature event on the card is the Grant Thornton Novice Chase in which the Willie Mullins-trained Devils Bride rates banker material.

Press Association

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