Wednesday 24 January 2018

Smullen hopeful of hat-trick for Famous Name at Leopardstown

Nick Robson

PAT Smullen is running out of words to describe Famous Name as he goes in search of a third successive win in the Jockey Club Of Turkey Meld Stakes at Leopardstown tomorrow evening.

Trained by Dermot Weld, the seven-year-old has won 17 of his 34 races, with 10 wins in Group Three company.

While a first Group One win continues to prove elusive, in the prevailing conditions at Leopardstown, he is hard to beat.

"What more can you say about him?" said Smullen, who has ridden him in 33 of his 34 starts. "He`s a great horse and he seems in good form.

"Native Khan looks the one to beat. He was a very good horse last year as he showed in the Guineas and the Derby and I`d expect him to improve a good deal from his first run when we beat him.

"We`ll need to run up to our best, but Famous Name is very hard to beat at Leopardstown.

"Native Khan is actually well-in tomorrow. We`re giving him 3lb and the ratings suggest we are only 2lb better, so if he`s in last year`s form, he could be hard to beat. It should be a good race."

Mick Halford`s Defining Year was second to Famous Name in the International Stakes and his trainer suggests Weld`s stalwart will need to underperform for him to win.

"I hope one day he gets his turn in a race like this," said Halford.

"He can`t really beat Famous Name if you take their last run literally but he`s been a great money earner for us.

"There`s a lack of these type of races in Ireland, you seem to get the same horses each time and you can`t escape Famous Name.

"His rating entitles him to run in them, though.

"I`m not wishing anything bad on Famous Name but I hope if one time he does have an off day, we can take advantage."

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