Monday 15 July 2019

Surrounding can swamp English raiders and score for Halford and Whelan

There's no shortage of English interest at Fairyhouse tomorrow with a three-strong raiding party bidding to land the Group Three Brownstown Stakes (3.10). Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
There's no shortage of English interest at Fairyhouse tomorrow with a three-strong raiding party bidding to land the Group Three Brownstown Stakes (3.10). Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

There's no shortage of English interest at Fairyhouse tomorrow with a three-strong raiding party bidding to land the Group Three Brownstown Stakes (3.10).

With €75,000 up for grabs at the Meath track, it's no surprise to see challengers making their way across the Irish Sea with Hugo Palmer sending over Heavenly Holly, Ed Walker saddling Indian Blessing, while David O'Meara is represented by Perfection.

None of the trio have shown particularly impressive recent form, however, but Perfection's impeded run when seventh in the Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot makes her an interesting contender under Shane Foley.

It's no surprise that the all-conquering Aidan O'Brien also has a trio of contenders in Fire Fly, Gossamer Wings and I Remember You but each of these three-year-olds has struggled of late.

The same cannot be said of Jack Davison's Black Magic Woman, which is a progressive type with back-to-back handicap victories, but this looks a significant step up in class for her.

The best form on offer is undoubtedly Mick Halford's Surrounding - twice a scorer at Listed level - having just been touched off when second in a valuable Curragh handicap at the Irish Derby meeting. Ronan Whelan's mount is rated 3lb superior to his next rival - Indian Blessing - and is a really likeable sort which rarely throws in a bad effort and the six-year-old mare is tipped to score.

O'Brien also has interest at Longchamp tomorrow where Japan and Western Australia tackle the Group One Grand Prix de Paris (6.45), a prize he took last year with Kew Gardens.

Japan finished a close third behind stablemate Anthony Van Dyck in the English Derby before his comprehensive King Edward VII Stakes victory at the Royal meeting and Ryan Moore's mount is seriously respected.

Higher Today's Irish action is headed by the Galway Plate Trial (5.40) at Limerick where last year's winner Supreme Vinnie is back for more but Denise Foster's ten-year-old races off 5lb higher this time.

The trainer/owner combination of Limerick duo Charles Byrnes and JP McManus won this two years ago and a market check is advised for Shanpallas but Ravenhill may be a better option.

Gordon Elliott's charge hasn't been out of the frame in his last eight starts - with four victories - and will take some stopping.

Meanwhile, with Jessica Harrington's two-year-olds in smashing form this season (12 winners thus far), there is a lot to like about the chances of Naas second Punita Arora in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Fillies Auction Maiden (2.30) at Navan today.

Irish Independent

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