Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 18 February 2018

Shadow Eile has class to pass fresh test with flying colours

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

The €50,000 Kingdom Gold Cup might be the most lucrative prize on offer at Killarney this evening, but for many the card's three steeplechases will provide the real highlights.

In the mares' beginners' heat, Irish Grand National-winning handler Dot Love introduces the classy Shadow Eile to fences. With just five inferior-rated rivals, Andrew McNamara's mount may not be overstretched to prevail, provided a clear round, but it will be fascinating to see if she can prove herself as adept at this game as she was over flights.

The other chases are compelling contests, especially Novices' Chase. Black Benny, The Real Article, Blue Cannon and Sizing Symphony are recent winners that add tremendous depth to this two-and-a-half-miler, but it is the last named's Henry de Bromhead-trained stable-mate Sizing Machine that is fancied to plunder the €8,000 spoils.

Placed off 124 over hurdles at Punchestown in April, the King's Theatre five-year-old promised bundles last term. Switched to fences at Kilbeggan earlier this month, he quickly added further substance to that potential, routing the field by 14 lengths with a polished display under Andrew Lynch, who has elected to stick with him again now.

Raajih, second then, did the form no harm with a win of his own back at the Co Westmeath venue last week, so Sizing Machine is napped to continue his ascent up the ranks here.

The ever-dependable Lynch might also take the Handicap Chase over the same trip on Jim Dreaper's Oscar Leney. Something of a gradual improver, this seven-year-old is at his best over further, as evidenced by his gallant half-length defeat after racing close to the pace over three miles at Roscommon three weeks ago.

Prior to that, he came from well back when just failing to collar the reopposing Chrisdonlady by a head over course and distance. He is 6lb higher now, but that simply reflects his progress, so he ought to go close if aggressive tactics are deployed.

In the main event over 11 furlongs, Show Court can defy top-weight for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen. Third behind Curley Bill and Bayan in a good race at Galway, Show Court's credentials are enhanced by the fact that both of those two have since won over hurdles.

Irish Independent

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