Sharestan ready to hit new heights
John Oxx's impressive Irish Lincoln hero Sharestan is strongly fancied to land the mile-and-a-quarter feature event on what is being billed as 'China Day' at the Curragh tomorrow.
Incredibly, the €40,000 Coolmore-sponsored Listed race is the only pattern race of any description on either side of the Irish Sea this weekend, and the all-conquering Tipperary outfit has two solid chances of taking its own prize.
Learn, a smart juvenile for Aidan O'Brien last year that was beaten only a couple of lengths by French Fifteen in the Criterium in October, makes his seasonal bow, while Tannery bids for a hat-trick for David Wachman.
Both have obvious chances, but it remains to be seen how much more improvement Tannery can find, and Learn might just be better for the run.
With that in mind, Sharestan appeals as a solid option, having progressed with each start to date this term.
Following his Lincoln coup, the Shamardal colt ran with real credit to go down by a mere head to Famous Name at Leopardstown, before getting to within a length and a half of the top-class St Nicholas Abbey when third over tomorrow's course and distance a month ago.
Although he tired late on after coming from a long way back on soft ground then, Sharestan ultimately confirmed himself on an upward curve, so this looks a decent opportunity now.
Jim Bolger, who has a bundle of chances on the seven-race spread, might record a brace courtesy of Leitir Mor and Livia Galilei. Of those that have already run in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, Gale Force Ten looks the main danger to Leitir Mor.
However, in his first two outings, Bolger's Holy Roman Emperor two-year-old has only been denied by Infanta Branca and Lines Of Battle -- two of Gale Force Ten's smart Ballydoyle stable-mates -- and it will be a surprise if he doesn't finally get his head in front now.
Livia Galilei's task in the fillies' handicap may be less straightforward, but she is also due a result.
Second to Montebell in a decent maiden at Cork on the latest of four career starts, she handles testing ground well, and a first-time mark of 79 looks fair.
Of her six rivals, the Jessica Harrington-trained Glamorous, an able soft-ground performer, would be most feared if she can leave behind a lifeless effort at headquarters a fortnight ago.
Others that are expected to cope with the unseasonably testing going are Edenshaw and Ursa Major. The last-named Galileo colt has not finished out of the first two in three tries for Tommy Carmody, beating Voleur De Coeurs, which reopposes here, at Dundalk in April.
On his only run since, he was far from disgraced when second to Athens in a tactical affair on soft ground at Navan, and he just might have the class to concede weight all round in the 12-furlong handicap under Ben Curtis.
In the Red Mills China Partnership six-furlong edition, Edenshaw faces a similar assignment, but Shane Gray's seven-pound claim is a big plus.