Friday 19 January 2018

Title-chasing O'Brien in line for treble at Roscommon

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Joseph O'Brien, once again in possession of a commanding lead over Pat Smullen in the jockeys' championship, could stretch further clear at Roscommon today.

On a mixed spread, the Ballydoyle teenager might take both the Flat maidens for his father Aidan.

Just Pretending, a robustly bred filly, wouldn't need to be Pattern-class to prevail for him in the juvenile opener, while Exact, an ordinary, but consistent three-year-old, boasts the strongest form in the 10-furlong contest for older horses.

Both, however, will likely be priced up accordingly and it is the Eoin Doyle-trained Dusty Trail that appeals as nap material, under the guidance of O'Brien, in the handicap over the same distance.

Successful at the western venue in soft ground this time last year, Dusty Trail has an agreeable habit of winning once his rating falls in line with his ability.

In all, his handicap haul stands at five on the level, from a range of marks between 57 and 74.

A year ago, he scored here off 69 and he is now down to 65, despite recently showing his best form since then.

At Tramore in August, Dusty Trail finished second in the sort of testing ground that he will encounter here, before finishing fourth at Dundalk in conditions that are probably quick enough for him now.

Off his current mark, then, and with the going as it is, he can defy a slight concern about the trip being on the sharp side to collect.

Over jumps, Popmurphy, a three-parts brother to O'Brien's Cesarewitch fifth I Have A Dream, is worth a look in the maiden hurdle. Placed in Listed company on the Flat two years ago, the blinkered son of Montjeu hinted that one of these would be within his reach when second at Galway on his first start for Ross O'Sullivan last month.

Irish Independent

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