Saturday 17 March 2018

Sandiva to make Fahey's raid on Naas worthwhile

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

RICHARD FAHEY'S Sandiva is fancied to make its cross-channel journey pay on a Naas bank holiday programme that has the distinction of producing two Classic winners last year despite not featuring a Group race.

The six-furlong Coolmore-sponsored Listed sprint that Sandiva contests was won by this year's 1,000 Guineas heroine Sky Lantern, while the preceding Rochestown Stakes went the way of Saturday's Derby disappointment Dawn Approach.

This time, Sky Lantern's trainer Richard Hannon saddles recent victors Corncockle and Fig Roll in the juvenile sprint, with Glassatura, Gwen Lady Byron and Heart Focus three locals among the 11-strong field to have obliged on their respective latest starts.

However, Sandiva was the most visually impressive of all the winners in attendance, sprinting six lengths clear when a well-backed favourite over five furlongs at Nottingham last month.

The daughter of Footstepsinthesand steps up to six furlongs under Pat Smullen now, but the prevailing fast ground should ensure she gets home.

In this year's Rochestown Stakes, Jim Bolger relies on Club Wexford, a maiden after two starts that ran well when second to Coach House in last week's Marble Hill Stakes on the Curragh.

Hannon has Sacha Park in the €60,000 contest, while Andy Oliver's All Set To Go ensures that three-quarters of the field vying for the valuable pot are maidens. The only winner on duty is Stubbs, representing Aidan O'Brien's all-conquering team.

A stylish winner at Navan, the choicely-bred colt had Abbakova over six lengths behind there.


Abbakova then got to within two and a quarter lengths of Club Wexford in the Marble Hill, so Stubbs looks the one to keep on side under Joseph O'Brien.

The Ballydoyle father-son partnership might also claim the day's other Listed race, the seven-furlong Owenstown Stud Stakes, with Reply.

With able 3lb claimer Conor Hoban up, Bobskier's 5lb penalty for her facile Tramore win on Saturday looks surmountable in the concluding handicap, while Lottie Dod can get off the mark at the ninth attempt for Charles O'Brien in the opening maiden.

Irish Independent

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