Tuesday 24 April 2018

Seville can oblige for young O'Brien

Damien McElroy

There are no shortage of opportunities on the home front tomorrow for some of Irish racing's current lesser lights on the flat, despite the elite 'Arc' meeting at Longchamp, with action during the early part of Tipperary's Super Sunday card as well as at Dundalk Stadium.

The ongoing duel for the apprentice crown between defending champion Gary Carroll and Ben Curtis continues apace, while their closest pursuer Joseph O'Brien tries to close the gap on this pair with some outstanding mounts close to home for his father Aidan.

Carroll campaigns on the all-weather at the Louth venue and O'Brien and Curtis clash in Tipperary's featured Concorde Stakes, sponsored by Coolmore Stud, for whom teenager O'Brien could be on the mark in all the events preceding the National Hunt action.

The Galileo colts Seville -- in particular -- and Obligation, which finished second and third, respectively, to Dermot Weld's smart newcomer Dubai Prince at Gowran Park recently, have favourite's chances in both the Longfield Stables Race and the Athassel House Stud Maiden.


Then it's the turn of the busier, 110-rated Air Chief Marshal to tackle the Concorde Stakes under top weight, with O'Brien aboard after performing the pacemaking duties for runner-up Rip Van Winkle at Ascot last Saturday in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Bound to be a more potent force in tomorrow's Group Three company, O'Brien's blinkered mount numbered Eddie Lynam's veteran Duff and Croisultan, which Curtis rides here, among his Minstrel Stakes victims over seven furlongs at the Curragh in July.

A greater danger may emerge this time in the guise of John Oxx's Keredari, which won a similar headquarters race in the spring before being outclassed in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Meanwhile, up at Dundalk the competitive element, thankfully, is spiced up by the presence of Yorkshire-based Mark Johnston's Hajoum and Honest Broker, which will be attempting in turn to get back on the winning trail in handicap company.

Goodwood soft-ground victor Hajoum, with Greg Fairley up, has several decent home-based rivals to contend with in the second leg of the jackpot. won last year by Fourpenny Lane and preference is for John Coleman's better-drawn Sean Og Coulston.

The Oriel Handicap, which concludes the jackpot, could go to the visiting Honest Broker, with Gary Carroll wearing the colours of Dublin owner-breeder Frank Towey as dual Listowel runner-up Dundrum Dancer still looks in the grip of the handicapper.

The latter's trainer, David Marnane, and jockey, Colm O'Donoghue, who have a splendid record at the border track, should make no mistake half an hour earlier when Sensational Day tackles the older fillies' maiden over the route on which she lost out by a head to stable-mate Move four weeks ago.

Cork native O'Donoghue is poised to take the riding honours of the meeting as he also teams up with Park Avenue, a fine third to Factum and Triple Eight on a previous visit here, in the juvenile maiden he won for Ballydoyle a year ago on Fighting Brave.

Evidence of a liking for Dundalk's Polytrack surface likewise suggests that David Wachman's Emerald Ring and the penalised Chaparro, from Michael Halford's yard, can book-end this session as presumed favourites for events that appear well within their compass.

Irish Independent

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