Sport Horse Racing

Monday 11 December 2017

Viking Victor poised to reward loyalty in fitting finale

Damien McElroy

Horse Racing Ireland race planners might be well advised to strongly consider changing the existing Sunday schedule of three Flat races on the final afternoon of the Galway Festival while the entire rival Cork card is conducted on the level.

Jumping is an integral part of the Galway meeting's fabric and logistically it might be much wiser to run off a Saturday progamme devoted fully to the Flat and then allow the National Hunt fraternity command centre stage for the wind-up.

In any case the three jumping races and winners' bumper, which commemorates the late Fr Sean Breen, will tend to overshadow the remaining contests, even if veteran Pat Shanahan will not be complaining should he double up aboard Talkin Kate and Askeria.

Connacht Tribune

Handicap Chase (3.55)

A wide-open affair looks in prospect with course specialist Kahuna, which may be more effective on an easier surface, obliged to concede weight all round as another veteran, Emmpatt and Truckers Delight, third here yesterday evening behind Wins Now, come next in the ratings.

Pallasmore continues to impress on summer ground, but the handicapper might have his measure at this stage and preference is instead for Coscorrig, a close fourth to Beau Michael here on Thursday in a decent novice race and with a smart young claimer aboard now.

Verdict -- Coscorrig will do for me.

Galway Bay FM

Beginners Chase (2.20)

Prince Erik found the ground against him here on Thursday when just foiled by Chicago Grey over a more suitable trip than this and therefore he's passed over in favour of Wise Old Owl, whose Tipperary second to the vastly more experienced Glenstal Abbey represented real progress.

Wikaala come here in fine form also after a Perth success, while Kilmurry and Paddy O Dee should be winning soon.

Verdict -- Wise Old Owl stands out.

Easyfix Handicap

Hurdle (2.50)

The versatile English raider Agglestone Rock could manage to defy top weight under Andrew McNamara, even if his usual front-running tactics didn't pay off over fences at Punchestown where he was behind Cuan Na Grai. Hepahepa Naeney and Highglen are proven over this distance, and both hat-trick seeking Impersonator and Millrock Lady deserve the utmost respect.

Verdict -- Agglestone Rock rates a sporting bet.

Irish Stallion Farms

Fillies Maiden (4.25)

Dance On By and At Present have had plenty of opportunities to get off the mark already, so it may reap reward to look elsewhere for the winner of this contest, with Askeria and Endearing, in that order, taken to improve on their placed debut efforts this time around.

John Oxx won this a year ago with Noble Galileo and Askeria has plenty going for her as a daughter of Sadler's Wells.

Verdict -- Askeria for this prize.

Fr Breen Memorial

Flat Race (5.25)

Quite a tasty race to bring down the curtain on an exciting week and it may take something special to prevent Viking Visitor following up his Gowran Park and Bellewstown victories on similar going for Kieran Purcell's yard, despite conceding weight all round.

Not For Converting has been proving expensive to follow and may not have the same scope for improvement as The Grey Express and All For Free.

Verdict -- Stay loyal to Viking Visitor.

Irish Independent

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