Friday 17 November 2017

Russian Soul can do double in Listed Abergwaun Stakes

Michael Halford's Russian Soul
Michael Halford's Russian Soul
Trainer Mick Halford
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

MICK HALFORD'S Russian Soul is fancied to become the third back-to-back winner of the Listed Abergwaun Stakes since 2008 at Tipperary tonight.

Senor Benny and Inxile have done the double in the Kilfrush Stud-sponsored five-furlong contest recently, while Halford also won the race with Invincible Ash in 2010.

This evening's nine-runner edition is competitive, with Tim Pitt's Rockingham hero Sir Maximilian joined from across the water by Johnny Butler's Tom Queally-ridden One Chance.

Jamesie, whose characteristically frustrating fast-finishing Fairyhouse defeat a month ago was Fergal Lynch's latest ride for David Marnane, will be reunited with Colm O'Donoghue for the first time since 2012.

O'Donoghue is the only rider apart from Lynch to win – three times – on the enigmatic six-year-old, so it will be interesting to see how the duo manage.

Jamesie came from the rear to be denied less than a length by Darwin and Russian Soul at Fairyhouse. Had he held a more prominent position he might well have won, but he is a horse that has an unsavoury habit of giving that impression.

Dropping back to five furlongs may not suit Jamesie now, and it is worth noting that Russian Soul didn't get a clear run when he was trying to challenge Darwin in the straight at Fairyhouse.

Granted, like Jamesie he is also more prolific over further, but he was a fine third in a Curragh Group Three over this distance following his game triumph here 12 months ago.

That was the last time that Russian Soul ran over the trip and he has continued to ply his trade at a decent level since, so he appeals as nap material on what is a tricky card.

In the Coolmore Canford Cliffs Stakes for two-year-olds, Aidan O'Brien's Curragh debut winner East India is sure to be a big player, but preference is for Dermot Weld's Tombelaine in the seven-furlong contest.

A fine second to O'Brien's Gleneagles in a Leopardstown Group Three when Ger Lyons' re-opposing Convergence was also a close third, Pat Smullen's mount looks the most exciting prospect on duty here at this stage.

Eddie Lynam's progressive Rockingham fourth Lady Mega could claim the Connolly's Red Mills Handicap for Robbie Downey, while Lily The Lioness ought to take plenty of beating in the lady riders' race under Katie O'Farrell.

Garrett Power's mare has been in excellent heart over jumps, and was beaten only by the smooth Galway winner Ridestan when last seen on the Flat at Killarney in July.

Irish Independent

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