Sunday 19 November 2017

Stage set for Famous Name to take spotlight

Damien McElroy

Proven mount Famous Name and the progressive Mikhail Glinka, which were each Group One-placed in France last year, could prove the star performers on show at Leopardstown tomorrow.

The ground, which has been drying out steadily all week at the Dublin course, should still have some cut underfoot with the official description given as good to yielding, yielding in places yesterday morning.

That scenario will hardly compromise the prospects of these classy colts making successful seasonal comebacks in turn in the Heritage Stakes and the P W McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes.

While their stables have been experiencing mixed fortunes so far this term, the pair have visited the winner's enclosure before at the Foxrock venue and have official ratings that suggest they can both repeat the feat now.

Successive visits by Famous Name to Longchamp last autumn yielded creditable placed runs, namely when runner-up to Aqlaam in the Prix Moulin and then third to Pipedreamer in the Prix Dollar.

A domestic hat-trick for Dermot Weld's charge preceded those outings and, with the benefit of presumed pacemaker Broad Meaning tomorrow, we can expect the Dansili colt to regain the winning thread.

The similarly 117-rated Gan Amhras failed to spark last Sunday at the Curragh behind She's Our Mark and is passed over though fitted with cheekpieces and reverting to a more suitable, shorter trip here.

Therefore the main threat should emerge from Kevin Prendergast's Recharge, successful from Intense Focus over this route last spring on fast ground before failing to cope with softer going in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Derby.

Despite being rated 8lb inferior to Famous Name and Gan Amhras, Recharge looks to have plenty of scope for improvement as a four-year-old and could be the one to really bustle up the top weight.

Prendergast will also be hopeful of a bold showing from Famous Warrior in the Ballysax Stakes as Declan McDonogh's mount off a mark of 105 already has a Killarney win over Mikhail Glinka (110) to his credit.

Furthermore, Prendergast's runner has the benefit fitness-wise of a run under his belt this term, having taken third money here in the 2,000 Guineas Trial three weeks ago behind mud-loving Noll Wallop.

Nevertheless it is likely favourite Mikhail Glinka that is marginally preferred at this juncture as the son of Galileo has made real progress since his defeat by Famous Warrior in a nursery at the Kerry track.

Mikhail Glinka's official mark took a rise last November on foot of a Leopardstown success in the mile and one furlong Eyrefield Stakes followed by a second placing behind Passion For Gold in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

Even if this Galileo colt may never emulate the feats of previous Ballysax Stakes winners from Ballydoyle such as Galileo, High Chaparral and Yeats, he can follow up current stable companion Fame And Glory's win a year ago.

The former Ballydoyle inmate Bashkirov, which has been doing well for Luke Comer on the all-weather at Dundalk, could be pipped by less exposed Haralan when reverting to turf in the concluding Pinewood Handicap.

Irish Independent

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