Monday 18 December 2017

Zarebiya has the credentials

Cork steps into the spotlight today as the Galway Festival winds to a close and the main race of the day is the Give Thanks Stakes, a Group Three contest for fillies and mares.

John Oxx goes into the 12-furlong event with a trio including Karasiyra, a Listed winner at Roscommon last time, but of more interest could be the lightly-raced pair Zarebiya and Alaia.

The former was an eyecatching winner of a Leopardstown maiden on her only start in June and the Currabeg handler is now pitching her in against smart types like She's Our Mark, Sense Of Purpose and Awe Inspiring.

The Platinum Stakes, a Listed event over a mile, is another fascinating contest and it brings a challenger from the in-form Mark Johnston stable in St Moritz.

The improving four-year-old won a hot Newmarket handicap last time and will be a formidable opponent for a strong home team that includes Jim Bolger's Classic-placed Gan Amhras and classy sorts from the Aidan O'Brien and David Wachman yards.

The meeting opens with the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden (2.05), in which Katla and Prescient meet up again after finishing second and third at The Curragh last time, and are taken on by Ballydoyle's Tom Sawyer.

The Mitchelstown Maiden mainly features three-year-olds and gives another opportunity to a trio that have been knocking on the door in Palm Ridge, Purple Land and Slade.

The Dermot Weld-trained Palm Ridge finished second to debutant Wade Giles last time and that one went on to beat the odds-on Fencing Master at Naas to frank the form.

Likeliest winner for the remarkable Weld on the final day at Galway could be Prince Erik, which runs in the Galway Bay FM Beginners Chase and was narrowly beaten in a similar event on Thursday.

The main event is the Connacht Tribune Handicap Chase, in which Truckers Delight seeks compensation for a valiant third at the track on Friday.

Meanwhile, Our Jonathan has been found an excellent opportunity to open his account for the year in the Queensferry Stakes at Chester.

Kevin Ryan's speedy colt enjoyed a fantastic 2009 campaign, progressing from a Pontefract maiden success to plundering Pattern-race prizes at Ascot and in France.

He was forced to concede weight all round on his return to action at Ascot in April and after a slow start, he was far from disgraced in finishing sixth behind Society Rock.

He should strip fitter now and has presumably been saved with autumn in mind.

He no longer has to carry a penalty for last year's Group-race wins and must have every chance of landing this before going on to better things.

His stablemate and course winner Masamah could well pose the biggest threat.

Earlier on the same card, Michael Stoute's Profondo Rosso can open his account in the M&S Money EBF Maiden Stakes.

The Red Ransom colt went into the notebook following his promising debut fourth a few weeks ago and normal progression should see a bold effort on the Roodee.

There is also action to be enjoyed at Newbury where Pipette can confirm the promise of her latest effort in defeat by landing the European Breeders' Fund Chalice Stakes.

Always held in high regard by trainer Andrew Balding, the filly was really impressive on her first start of the year at Kempton before perhaps having her limitations exposed in the 1,000 Guineas.

However, the step up to 10 furlongs certainly seemed to do her good when second to Snowy Fairy at Goodwood in May and that form looks scalding hot given the winner has gone on to dual Oaks glory.

Sunday Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport