Tuesday 16 January 2018

Six of the best as Keane aims to reassert his title ascendancy

Jockey Colin Keane. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Jockey Colin Keane. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Colin Keane is certainly not complacent as he attempts a first win in the Flat jockeys' title pursuit and Monday's Roscommon fare would have been a jolt to the system.

A Pat Smullen four-timer left Keane a decidedly shaky-looking three in front and, with Dermot Weld now in blistering form, Paddy Power makes Smullen 4/9 for a title retention, having been odds-against last week.

Keane is not giving up, with six rides at one of his local tracks, Bellewstown, today - all with realistic claims. Poetic Light can get him off the mark for his boss Ger Lyons in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden. This one left his debut offering behind when third at Leopardstown and he seems to be improving.

Keane can get another on the board in the form of Pillar in the Holcroft Peugeot Drogheda 40th Anniversary Handicap for Adrian McGuinness. This gelding may be a bit of a thinker when it comes to finishing off his races, yet his form is solid and he handles this track.

Pat Smullen has five rides, perhaps the pick of them Dalton Highway in the Drogheda Traders Plate Handicap. This Zoffany-bred appeals as the best-treated horse in this race, and with the Weld steeds thriving, he can overcome a tricky draw. That said, this is a competitive feature race, with most of these having shown recent form to put them in the mix. Political Policy has plenty going for him but the rain is a concern.

The nap selection goes to Abamanova in the sprint maiden. This Camacho-bred was beaten three lengths behind a really reliable horse bound for Stakes company on debut and, though the runner-up laboured since, it was likely a reasonable maiden.

Trappy The opening claiming maiden is poor and Dance Along may offer some value for Dick Brabazon despite a tepid offering last time, while Gold Struck and Free To Roam are hopeful selections in a pair of trappy divisions of the Eva-Tec Ltd Handicap.

Racing concludes with a tricky middle-distance handicap in which the veteran Usa, which will appreciate stepping up in distance here, has plenty going for him for Stephen Mahon.

Irish Independent

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