Wednesday 16 January 2019

Unexposed Jaega looks one to follow at Cork

'Horses break from the stalls during yesterday’s racing at Sandown' Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
'Horses break from the stalls during yesterday’s racing at Sandown' Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

With Royal Ascot on the horizon next week, it's quantity over quality on these shores this weekend but Cork's Flat fixture tomorrow has plenty to get your teeth stuck into.

The Group Three Munster Oaks Stakes (3.50) - a race which has been monopolised by Aidan O'Brien and Dermot Weld in the past decade - highlights a decent seven-race card at the Mallow track.

O'Brien has prevailed four times in the last ten runnings and Weld has a hat-trick of wins in the €70,000 contest over 12 furlongs and the Ballydoyle maestro is well represented again with a trio of runners.

Flattering has been busy of late coming home fifth in the Epsom Oaks behind stablemate Forever Together, while the daughter of Galileo was third in the Listed Lingfield Oaks Trail on her penultimate start.

Seamie Heffernan's mount brings good form to the table while Sizzling - the mount of Wayne Lordon - was Group Three-placed as a juvenile but hasn't progressed at three and it's hard to make a case for her, likewise for Easter Lily.

JAEGA is Weld's sole runner but what an interesting contender she is. Unraced at two, she won her maiden before being touched off by O'Brien's Bye Bye Baby on her second run and should enjoy the additional two furlongs based on how she finished in the Group Three Blue Wind Stakes at the Curragh that day.

Jaega is rated 1lb superior to Willie McCreery's Bloomfield - 4lb superior to Flattering - but receives a stone in weight allowances from the older horses and the younger brigade may hold sway here with that significant swing.

Jim Bolger's Glamorous Approach was runner-up to Bloomfield on both starts this term - well held on both occasions - and is 3lb worse off compared to their last clash so the unexposed Jaega is the pick.

The Cork Derby (4.20) is the other showpiece on the card and a 3lb rise for his Leopardstown handicap win last month doesn't seem unduly harsh for Jarlath Fahey's SEA THE LION in the €50,000 event.

With Edward O'Grady's Le Vagabond (second), Bolger's Clongowes (third), Apparition (seventh) all re-opposing from that day, he could still be a little bit ahead of that trio but Moonmeister is a danger if returning to form.

lower Last year's winner has been well below par since then but returns for another crack and Tony Martin's seven-year-old is likely to make a bold bid off 4lbs lower than 12 months ago.

Today's Downpatrick jumps card offers Gordon Elliott a chance to finally get the ball rolling on his bid for a first Irish trainers' championship.

After being caught by the red-hot Willie Mullins at the Punchestown Festival, Elliott has gone through a barren spell with just three winners from 70 National Hunt runners this season compared to Mullins' 30 (from 92 runners).

As a result, Mullins has raced into a commanding lead (€331,475 to Elliott's €48,050) with the Meath handler currently 11th, but with the Galway Festival on the horizon, he will be hoping to hit form and GOODTHYNEMILAN looks to have found another nice opportunity in the AJC Group Handicap Chase (4.50).

Freshened up after a break, the consistent eight-year-old is unexposed over the larger obstacles and should score in the hands of champion jockey Davy Russell.

Elsewhere, Damien English could strike at Limerick today where the ultra-consistent GEOLOGICAL is fancied (3.25) while stablemate DANCE ALONE (4.0) can also score.

Irish Independent

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