Saturday 16 December 2017

Stack's Celerina can land sprint honours

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Last year's brilliant Nunthorpe hero Sole Power adds a touch of real quality to this evening's five-furlong feature event at Tipperary, the Abergwaun Stakes.

Eddie Lynam's four-year-old, fifth here in 2010, has maintained a high standard of performance since landing the York Group One, winning a decent Haydock Group Two in May before finishing a brave eighth in the King's Stand on ground that rode slowly at Royal Ascot.

With the official going good to firm tonight, he ought to again go close, despite having to concede weight all round now that he drops to Listed class.

That said, a blistering pace is the second key ingredient for Sole Power and the fear would be that he might not get that in this company. Once he turns in another solid effort, connections are unlikely to be too downbeat if he gets beaten, given that the main objective is to retain the Nunthorpe crown in a fortnight's time.

Inxile, one of a potent three-strong British challenge, and last year's winner Invincible Ash are Sole Power's most obvious threats, but it may pay to speculate on Celerina causing a mild upset. With Wayne Lordan booked for Sole Power, Billy Lee takes over on Tommy Stack's progressive mare for the first time.

A three-time winner, Celerina has run admirably to be placed in fair sprints at York and Ayr. At Ayr last time, she had the subsequent Listed and Group winners Katla and Ladies Are Forever behind her when second to Margot Did, so she is particularly interesting now that she receives weight from her principal opponents.

The Coolmore Hurricane Run Stakes is a second pattern event on the programme and Aidan O'Brien saddles three of the eight runners in this seven-furlong juvenile heat. The Ballydoyle handler's Furner's Green may be the one to beat.

O'Brien can also take the four-runner fillies' race with the top-rated Eirnan, while Naked Cowboy is the nap selection. Tony Mullins' gelding tackles division one of the Derrinstown Stud Apprentices' Handicap.

Lightly-raced, Naked Cowboy has twice gone close at Naas this term, and a tack malfunction caused his undoing at Gowran Park. He is fancied to take some stopping.

Irish Independent

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