Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 17 March 2018

Success can lead to more happy days for Condon

Ken Condon will be hoping to score with Success Days at Leopardstown
Ken Condon will be hoping to score with Success Days at Leopardstown
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Order Of George will strive to book a place for himself on Ballydoyle's Epsom lorry when he tackles tomorrow's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

The €100,000 Group Three was for a long time a premier trial for the premier Classic, but it has struggled to attract genuine high-calibre contenders this decade.

Fame And Glory was the last proper Group One horse to prevail in 2009, and this year's edition looks set to continue the recent trend.

With the ground likely to be testing, Aidan O'Brien opted to swerve the race with John F Kennedy and Dermot Weld did likewise with Zawraq.

As a result, Order Of St George is the only one of the five runners with Epsom aspirations, and he is a 66/1 shot at that.

In five starts, the Galileo colt has won just once. When last seen in October, he was beaten here over a furlong shy of tomorrow's 10-furlong trip.

Order Of St George might step up under Joseph O'Brien, but the manner of his defeat wasn't encouraging. He led after turning in but never strode out to put the race to bed, eventually getting reeled in by Parish Boy, which was thrashed by Zawraq last month.

Success Days finished fifth, but Ken Condon's grey son of Jeremy has progressed at a rate of knots since. He beat Postulation and Off Limits in a decent conditions race on deep ground at Cork on his reappearance, and then trounced Zafilani and John F Kennedy here in the Ballysax Stakes.

Zafilani had also finished ahead of Success Days when third in the October race, which gives you an indication of how much Condon's colt has improved. He paid Success Days another handsome tribute by subsequently coming out and beating Royal Navy Ship and Mohaayed at Gowran Park.

As a proven mudlark, then, Success Days is the sensible choice to complete his hat-trick now under Shane Foley.

The card's two other Group Three races are even more interesting affairs.

In the contest billed as a 1,000 Guineas trial, O'Brien relies on the maidens Kissed By Angels and Terracotta.

Of the two, Kissed By Angels looks the more useful prospect, a regally-bred filly that kept on well to be second to Back On Top on her Limerick debut. Corail, Devonshire, Letters Of Note, Stellar Glow and Off Limits are all contenders, but the one that appeals most is Weld's Stormfly.

The Dark Angel filly showed her best form on soft ground last year, and she confirmed her liking for the mud by getting up on the line to win a Curragh handicap off 91 on her return.

She was then deeply impressive in first-time blinkers when drawing clear of Devonshire here in last month's Guineas trial, when the 1,000 Guineas heroine Legatissimo was back in fourth.

With conditions in Stormfly's favour again, she can follow up under Leigh Roche, who stands in for the suspended Pat Smullen. In the Ard Glen Amethyst Stakes, Paul Deegan's Sruthan is tipped to turn the tables on his Curragh conqueror, Flight Risk.

The top-rated of the seven-strong field is three pounds better off with Flight Risk, and he should strip a little fitter under Chris Hayes. Flight Risk's trainer Jim Bolger could take the concluding 12-furlong maiden with the Galileo filly, Knocknagree.

Newcomers Bantry Bay and Bondi Beach represent Ballydoyle, but Knocknagree made a big impression on her autumn debut here when just run out of it by Off Limits and Zannda. If Kevin Manning's mount runs to a similar level now, she ought to trouble the colts.

The day's nap vote goes to the Wayne Lordan-ridden Northern Surprise in the seven-furlong handicap.

Tim Doyle's charge is re-opposed by Bobby Jean, which overhauled him at the Curragh on Monday.

However, that was over a mile, and Northern Surprise, which is 17lbs better off for a two-and-a-half length defeat, will be far better suited by this shorter trip.

At Gowran Park this afternoon, Awesome Star is napped now that it steps up in trip for the two-mile maiden. Jumpers Wicklow Brave, Ned Buntline and Jennies Jewel are all players in this, but John Oxx's Sea The Stars colt has a touch of quality.

He has run well to be placed in three maidens between 10 and 12 furlongs, leaving the distinct impression that he would stay further.

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