Big Weekend: Trainers and Jockey to watch this weekend

Friday, September 27, 2019

Jockey To Watch – Davy Russell

Davy Russell will end a 55-day absence from the weigh room when pulling on the boots for five mounts at Navan tomorrow, all for trainer Gordon Elliott.

The Youghal maestro has been sidelined for the best part of two months as a number of old injuries flared up and needed time to heal properly ahead of the return of the quality horses to the track. With the likes of Presenting Percy, Delta Work and Tiger Roll to look forward to, it makes sense to be fighting fit at the right time.

The three-time champion had enjoyed a quick start to the campaign, and is still third on the championship table with 28 winners, despite his lengthy absence.

Soldiers Hill (1.45), Song Of Namibia (2.20), The Abbey (2.25), Lethal Steps (3.30) and Cats For Cash (4.05) represent the opportunities to get the ball rolling again quickly. When the Russell-Elliott pair get going, fireworks can be expected and if it doesn’t happen tomorrow, it will soon.

Trainer To Watch 1 – Colm Murphy

Colm Murphy is a multiple Cheltenham Festival-winning handler, responsible for Champion Hurdler Brave Inca and Champion Chaser Big Zeb, as well as other elite performers such as Voler La Vedette, Quito de la Roque and Feathard Lady.

Tutored by six years spent with Aidan O’Brien, he struck out on his own in 2000 to phenomenal success but after a lean period, handed in his licence in 2016. He retained an involvement in the core of the industry however by producing young horses and after building up a team of promising stores and novices, jumped in at the deep end once more earlier this year.

Glendruid was his first runner back, finishing eighth in a Cork bumper in July, while Space Capacity was down the field in a maiden hurdle at Tramore last month. The six-year-old son of Scorpion returns to the fold in the Bar One Racing Download The App Maiden Hurdle (1.45) at Navan tomorrow, with Brian Hayes doing the steering.

It will take a little time for the Gorey conditioner to get going as he slowly introduces his neophytes to action, but given his undoubted ability once in possession of the artillery, it seems only a matter of time before the gap to his last winner – Killiney Court in Ballinrobe on August 23rd, 2016 – is bridged.


Trainer To Watch 2 – Andy Slattery

The man from Cooldine made his name through the point-to-point field, where he produced an RSA Chase winner named after the home parish but bettered that with his education of future Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen.

At that point, there seemed little prospect of Meadowview Stables mixing it with the might of Ballydoyle (Aidan O’Brien), Rosewell House (Dermot Weld) and Glebe House (Jim Bolger) on the summer Flat circuit but that is where Andy Slattery is now.

Like many, he has found a niche as a seller of juveniles and so it invariably pays not to oppose his two-year-olds. With that in mind, Sarwin is an interesting entry in the colours of the trainer’s wife Mary in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden (6.15) at Dundalk tonight. The couple’s son Andrew has enjoyed a brilliant season and the five-pound claimer will be legged up by his father. Sure to come on for the run, we can expect a strong showing nonetheless.

Slattery has proven capable of landing major handicaps too and is double-handed in the €50,000 Manguard Plus Joe McGrath Handicap (2.35) over a frantic five furlongs at the Curragh tomorrow. Cityman is a triple winner this term and is certainly bred for the job as a son of Slade Power. Slattery Jnr is in the plate. Emadee hasn’t been seen since April but is off a very nice mark and has Rory Cleary for company.

It is a highly-competitive affair, as it should be with such a pot and Urban Beat, Make A Challenge, Verhoyen, Angelic Light and Aurora Eclipse are others likely to be in contention if the gaps open up in the final two furlongs.

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