Monday 23 April 2018

Smullen to maintain 'Fast' pace

Jockey Pat Smullen celebrates after winning the KPMG Enterprise Stakes on Zhukova. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Jockey Pat Smullen celebrates after winning the KPMG Enterprise Stakes on Zhukova. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Pat Smullen has been utterly dominant in the Irish jockeys' championship this season, though he will likely remember it chiefly because of Harzand's Epsom Derby win.

In most people's eyes, the Rhode rider had the title in the bag - barring accidents - before the campaign began. With Aidan O'Brien sharing winners among a scatter of jockeys, there was no realistic chance of Smullen being challenged.

Winning the title means a great deal to Smullen and he can strike with the nap selection in the second division of the Order Of Malta Handicap: Fast Candy.

This is a half-sister to Newellen, a winner for John Oxx, and she took the eye when getting a rather messy trip at Leopardstown under Yash Narredu when last seen. Smullen takes over and the easier ground may well be to her advantage.

If Smullen's campaign tallies with expectation, that of Billy Lee has surpassed even what the rider himself would have been hoping for. His mount, Spanish Tenor, could be interesting at double-figure odds in the opening contest. Being by Lope De Vega, the yielding conditions ought to be fine, and this horse has quite an interesting pedigree.

Young brothers, Joseph and Donnacha O'Brien, can combine in the juvenile fillies' maiden with Art Nouvelle, which ran with considerable credit on its debut at Naas. That run gives her the beating of Blitz, though there are plenty in with chances now.


In the ten-furlong fillies' maiden, the Dermot Weld-trained Mounira was put in at 6/1 in the overnight betting. Considering she was even-money on her debut at Galway, it could be a big price, though she has to prove that modest run was all wrong.

Gordon Elliott has a decent hit-rate with Flat horses and High Expectations looks well-named in the first division of the Order Of Malta Handicap.

The market will be critical here as the horse is thrown in on his hurdles form but has not offered much on the level and has been sidelined for 609 days.

Double Fast reappears four days after a hardy second at Gowran. She has an affinity for that track but she has course-and-distance form too ahead of the Racing Academy & Irish School Of Farriery Handicap.

The Jockeys Emergency Fund Handicap looks next to impossible and Take A Drop, with a tongue-tie on for the first time, is a shot in the dark.

Donegal native Oisin Orr lost his 7lb claim when Quick Jack scored on Irish Champions Weekend.

This tidy rider seemed to suit Rose Anjou when she chased home Full Shilling on her handicap debut and she can reverse that form in the finale.

The Curragh will hold an exhibition recalling the track's history to coincide with its final race days of 2016 - the last before the track gets redeveloped.

The exhibition will be open from Sunday, October 9 to the following Friday.

Irish Independent

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