Friday 17 January 2020

Zoffany can extend his unbeaten home record

Damien McElroy

Two very different programmes this evening to cater for fans on the home front, with twin Group Three events highlighting the Leopardstown meeting and Limerick catering for the jumping fraternity with an eight-race fixture.

Both the Jockey Club of Turkey Meld Stakes and the Korean Racing Authority Tyros Stakes have devolved into purely domestic affairs with none of the seven initial English-based acceptors making the journey to the Dublin track.

Godolphin's debut scorer Deep South and Mark Johnston's Stentorian are the notable absentees from the Korean-sponsored Tyros Stakes, the latter having been defeated by Zoffany over the course and distance three weeks ago.

That ultra-smart Ballydoyle inmate is back for more tonight in a Group Three race that boasts a glorious recent past, having been landed in succession by subsequent star performers Teofilo, New Approach, Rip Van Winkle and then Cape Blanco last year.

Backed up by stable companion High Ruler, which defeated the reopposing Jolie Jioconde in a Roscommon maiden, Zoffany should have the measure also of Triple Eight to extend the Dansili colt's unbeaten record on home soil.

Thankfully, there's a couple more older runners lining up for the Jockey Club of Turkey Meld Stakes over an extra quarter mile and here Zoffany's highly-regarded stablemate Steinbeck has something to prove after his latest defeat.


Twice unable to get to grips with the brilliant Canford Cliffs, most recently at Royal Ascot last month, Johnny Murtagh's mount tackles nine furlongs here and, indeed, reverts from Group One company for the first time since winning on his Naas debut.

Steinbeck's current official rating of 115 suggests strongly that Aidan O'Brien's charge should add to that solitary success now as he's in receipt of a stone from Dermot Weld's course specialist Famous Name, which has a mark of 117.

Burdened with a 5lb penalty, the Dansili five-year-old has done connections proud having recorded four wins and two second placings from his half-dozen starts at the Foxrock venue under Pat Smullen and continuing ease in the going could be their trump card tonight.

Sensibly withdrawn from the Tyros Stakes, Joe Murphy's Gatamalata should make it third time lucky in the opening Median Auction Maiden after her eye-catching late surge to finish second to Seeharn at the Curragh during Derby weekend.

And another very effective small-scale trainer with a prime candidate for honours this evening will be Sabrina Harty, whose 125-rated Deploy mare Cooper's Crest stands out in Limerick's Irish Daily Mirror Hurdle after Sunday's fine third to Bahrain Storm and Cuan Na Grai at Tipperary.

Peter Casey's course winner Jack The Bus is marginally preferred to Del Rio, successful and second for Jim Dreaper's yard on visits to Perth, in the Limerick's Live 95FM Chase and Alfa Beat can complete a mixed treble for the local Charles Byrnes stable when reverting to the smaller obstacles with Robbie McNamara up in the October 10th Munster National Handicap Hurdle.

Irish Independent

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