Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Saint Gervais can keep O'Brien on course

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Shrewd Dungarvan-based handler John Kiely can assist Joseph O'Brien's quest for a first jockeys' title in Navan's final Flat race of the year.

The duo team up with Saint Gervais in the one-mile-five-furlong handicap, a competitive contest that also features Tommy Carmody's Irish Cesarewitch disappointment Seventh Sign.

A three-time winner previously, Seventh Sign is better than his hopeless finishing position at the Curragh suggests, though his current rating of 89 still appears stiff enough.

Tramore winner Face Value is another with a squeak, but Saint Gervais appeals as a particularly solid option.

A two-time bumper and hurdle winner, he has twice finished second in his first three starts on the level, latterly going down to Missunited at Listowel, form that the classy mare franked when second in the Cesarewitch.

If Saint Gervais can replicate that performance now, he should collect.

O'Brien might also take the earlier juvenile maiden -- a race that his father Aidan has won for the past eight years -- on the debutant Indian Chief, while championship rival Pat Smullen is fancied to reduce the table-topper's lead -- currently seven -- on Mamma Rosa.

Pat Flynn's four-year-old tackles the €20,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies' Handicap, another well-contested heat comprising 10 in-form sorts.

Successful off 71 in soft at Listowel last year, Mamma Rosa's one-paced second to Mont Blanc at Cork on Saturday suggested that she is on the verge of exploiting her revised mark of 67.

Placed here over today's 10-furlong trip before, there is plenty to like about her now.

In the one-mile edition, Seamus Fahey's consistent Fast On, unlucky to be collared late on at the Curragh last week, is due a rub of the green under Mick Hussey.

Irish Independent

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