Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 18 March 2018

Smullen can make hay at the Curragh

Pat Smullen is losing ground on Joseph O'Brien in the race for the jockeys' title but he could close the gap at the Curragh today, where he has live prospects of a treble.

The Offaly native has the pick of Dermot Weld's three runners in the opening seven-furlong maiden for juveniles, and Smullen's decision to partner the 75-rated Cool Metallic suggests nothing major is expected of debutant Pay Day Kitten, while Lucky Kitten failed to beat a rival home on his Dundalk introduction.

The one to beat is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Kingdom, which is ridden by the championship leader and form followers will take note that Joseph's mount has run in races won by exciting prospects Eye Of The Storm and Trading Leather.

While the Ballydoyle youngster is still in the Racing Post Trophy, the application of cheekpieces aren't exactly an encouraging sign so the nod is given to Smullen's mount.

Smullen will be a short-priced favourite to visit the winner's enclosure a half-an-hour later when on Weld's Muntasaf.

The son of Acclamation made a promising debut at Listowel last month when he just failed to catch Lordhighprotector. Provided the gelding has recovered sufficiently from those exertions, he should have too many guns for the consistent September Lily.

The Rosewell House combination will also fancy their chances in the closing 10-furlong handicap in which Hisaabaat returns to action.

Jim Bolger, however, may have the solution to the six-furlong nursery with Whip Storm.

Brinestine tries to follow up last week's Navan breakthrough victory, but may be thwarted by Gun Shoot.

Irish Independent

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