To Watch 1 – Drumcliff
trainer Aidan Howard has been among the winners on the Flat of late from a very
select team. Since The Last Indian finished fourth of sixth in Ballinrobe on
June 24, Howard has had just eight runners. Six of those have been on the level
and from those six, he has recorded four victory - Miss Jabeam hitting
the target twice.
that reason, the previously unraced Lady Jane Wilde has to be watched in the
Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden (5.15) at his local venue tonight, despite
being among the outsiders, and Enter The Red could be value in the TRI Equine
Nutrition Handicap (8.00).
has long been held in high regard as a trainer and educator of young horses but
his handling of Winter Escape, a horse that has had his share of difficulties
impressed owner JP McManus and manager Frank Berry enough for them to leave him
in his care last year, having initially been sent over from Alan King’s for
some R & R. Winter Escape went on to bag a pair of Grade 3s and while
bursting blood vessels may hamper consistency, the ability is such that there
are sure to be other big days in him.
is another McManus-owned gelding, who was last seen just over 12 months ago
falling in the Galway Plate when very well backed and travelling well under
Áine O’Connor for her brother-in-law Harry Fry, early in the final circuit.
son of Presenting had prevailed in three of his previous assignments, with
O’Connor doing the steering twice and her fiancé, Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden on
board on the other occasion. It is Madden that gets the office in the Joe
Cooney Memorial Hurdle (6.05) at Kilbeggan tomorrow but Howard is down as the
conditioner in that first run in 374 days.
he has been tending to the eight-year-old’s recuperation for whatever was the
cause of his lay-off and Drumcliff has taken to his new surroundings. After
such a lengthy lay-off, significant improvement is sure to come but on all known
evidence, we can expect him to be competing in big-money handicaps in time.
To Watch 2 – Gordon Lord Byron
is over two years now since Gordon Lord Byron won, not that anyone connected
with him could dream of complaining. The now 11-year-old is still racing
because he could not contemplate retirement and his most recent appearance –
the 100th of an astonishing career – saw him finish fourth in the
Group 2 Minstrel Stakes at HQ, just over four lengths behind last year’s Irish
2000 Guineas winner Romanised, who has leading claims in the Group 1 Prix
Jacques Le Marois at Deauville on Sunday.
is a clear indication of his continuing health and competitiveness and a drop
down to Group 3 Qatar Racing And Equestrian Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes (7.25)
at the Curragh tonight ostensibly improves his chances of adding a 17th
career triumph, though the drop to six furlongs may not play to his strengths
unless there is a strong from the off gallop.
Tom Hogan has been regularly posting updates on his Twitter status of Gordon’s
trips to the beach and the Tipperary handlers is optimistic that the sea air
and salt water has been beneficial to his triple Group 1-winning hero.
will be the biggest cheer of the night if he gets up.