Friday 20 April 2018

Tipstaff ready to navigate way to Cork prize

Elliott, the top trainer in recent years at Downpatrick, struck with a double in the form of Ballela Boy and Dounikos, both sent off odds-on. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
Elliott, the top trainer in recent years at Downpatrick, struck with a double in the form of Ballela Boy and Dounikos, both sent off odds-on. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

Johnny Ward

Tipstaff is taken to prove his progressive profile in an intriguing Navigation Stakes at Cork today for legendary trainer Jim Bolger.

By Street Cry, the Godolphin colt won a Navan maiden ten days ago, finding plenty in the concluding quarter-mile of that ten-furlong event. Given how steep the climb is late on at Navan, there is an obvious concern about the mile being too sharp at Cork now, but at the very least he should be keeping going when others are flagging.

Black Hawk War's campaigning has been somewhat unusual: he made his debut on October 3, ran again five days later and now makes it three appearances this month already. Both of this pair are progressive, classy colts and may have the measure of the older steeds now.

Coolmore sponsors the opening maiden and Aidan O'Brien has two runners. However, preference is for Spanish Tenor, a son of Lope De Vega which rates one of the best prospects trainer Tim Doyle has ever had.

The fillies' handicap is a trappy contest and Crafted Jewel can hardly be a confident selection, coming off a 113-day lay-off and having only her second handicap start. However, she never seems to run a bad race and her two-and-a-half-length fourth to Qatari Hunter on latest reads well.

The nursery is a tricky little contest and it might be worth chancing Greenpanda at the foot of the weights if she is a big price, though the Ger Lyons-trained Rock In Peace gets the nod. His fourth to Taj Mahal at Dundalk was a solid run, in keeping with his previous second to the O'Brien-trained Istan at the Curragh.

Yesterday was a good day for Gordon Elliott and also his farrier Gavin Cromwell. Elliott, the top trainer in recent years at Downpatrick, struck with a double in the form of Ballela Boy and Dounikos, both sent off odds-on.

Cromwell took the staying handicap chase with Midnight Theatre on what was the final day's racing at the Co Down venue in 2016, a year that yielded a dozen winners for Elliott at the track.

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