Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 20 January 2018

Waver has nap appeal for Ballydoyle firm at Dundalk

Donnacha O'Brien
Donnacha O'Brien
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

A competitive eight-race spread marks the start of a winter series at Dundalk that will see Friday night racing staged all the way through to the middle of next May.

There is also a jumps card at Downpatrick this afternoon, but the ongoing lack of rainfall renders an already low-key programme there even less intriguing.

On the all-weather surface in Co Louth, Ballydoyle has representatives in three different races.

Aidan O'Brien's elite firm could conceivably plunder all three with a different son or daughter aboard each, but Cocoon is passed over in the nursery.

Having dead-heated in a similar affair at Listowel, Ana O'Brien's mount has obvious claims off just a pound higher mark.

However, preferred is David Wachman's Connor King-ridden Perfect Fit, which lost little in defeat when a one-paced third to Intenser at Gowran Park. That was a decent race, so Perfect Fit appeals now that he steps up to a mile for a first time.

O'Brien and his teenage son Donnacha team up for Waver in the apprentices' handicap. Needless to say, this 14-runner affair looks open, but Waver is potentially quite well treated.

A winner over hurdles at Listowel, the Galileo gelding has dropped two pounds to a mark of 78 after finishing fifth on its latest Flat start at Gowran Park. On its only previous outing at Dundalk in October, Waver won decisively off 82, so he is nap material now off an effective rating of 72.

Joseph O'Brien's only booked ride for his father is Afonso De Sousa in the concluding conditions race over an extended 10 furlongs. The stable also has Indian Maharaja and Festive Cheer in this, while Mick Halford's Warbird and Dermot Weld's Nonchalant are others to consider.

Nonetheless, Afonso De Sousa ought to be hard to beat if he is anywhere close to his best. Placed in each of its three starts in Group or Listed company, he hasn't been seen since flopping in deep ground on his reappearance at the Curragh way back in March.

If Afonso De Sousa has recovered from whatever has ailed him since then, the previous course and distance winner really should be up this.

In the opening juvenile maiden over six furlongs, O'Brien's fellow Co Tipperary-based handler Andrew Slattery might collect with Sors under Declan McDonogh.

This isn't a bad race, but Sors' second to Cappella Sansevero in a Curragh Listed race back in May hinted at his potential on the back of debut second to Bwana at Cork. The son of Acclamation failed to fire behind Kool Kompany at Naas subsequently, but he could be a live player again now.

At Downpatrick, Ram Them All is expected to take a bit of stopping for Pat Fahy and Paul Townend in the first maiden hurdle following a last-gasp defeat to Millie Le Bach at Galway.

Placed in its last three runs, Ram Them All nearly ran them all ragged at Ballybrit, when front-running tactics produced a career-best effort. A similar performance now might be enough against modest opposition.

Later on, John Ryan's Draycott Place is interesting in the longer beginners' chase. Andrew Lynch's mount doesn't have Definite Ruby's experience, but he has more quality. If he takes to the job at the first attempt, he will surely be thereabouts.

Irish Independent

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