Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 18 March 2018

Wakea can put things right at Clonmel after 'wasted summer'

Skerries trainer Karl Thornton. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE
Skerries trainer Karl Thornton. Picture credit: Cody Glenn / SPORTSFILE

Johnny Ward

Perhaps you will come across it in a quiz one time, likely one of a nerdy racing variety: name the horse which won two maiden hurdles.

Technically, Wakea will not have achieved that if he justifies nap selection in Clonmel's opener this afternoon - but you may get away with it. Though he bids to get off the mark over timber in the Mylerstown Maiden Hurdle, Wakea has already "won" a maiden hurdle - or he certainly did insofar as those who backed him to score at Down Royal in late May collected on their wager.

Wakea bolted up on that occasion, only to test positive for a prohibited substance, the anti-inflammatory Dexamethasone. Skerries trainer Karl Thornton remains completely baffled by how this transpired.

He said: "He won of a Friday. The previous Tuesday we tested him after he worked like a train at the Curragh and he was perfect.

"I've absolutely no idea how he got that in his system. What is most bizarre is we have worked closely with the Turf Club since and he tested positive five times in total, with levels that were erratic from one test to the next. The Turf Club was baffled and it meant that we had a wasted summer with what is a very classy horse."

Asked about today, Thornton added: "He had a break, as he was in no man's land, and probably won't be quite at his best but he shouldn't need to be."

Wakea, a smart recruit off the Flat, would probably not want too much rain but conditions are unlikely to demand too much in that regard of the Cape Cross offspring.

This is a pretty average card for the track quality-wise but the Derrygrath Opportunity Handicap Hurdle rates a competitive event. Sean Doyle's prowess between the flags is well-known to pointing aficionados and it is from that sphere that Crosshue Boy progressed.

That and previous Rules form suggest the reversion to three miles can only suit, though The King Of Brega is feared.

Winning pointer Cavalo could take the beating in the nightcap, especially as her pedigree suggests bumpers should suit the daughter of Kalanisi.

Her rider Jamie Codd was earlier this week named full-time representative of horses-in-training for Tattersalls.

The worry must be that Cavalo's rival, Court Artist, is Willie Mullins' only runner on the card.

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