4.55 Killarney – METICULOUS (nb)
The concluding bumper on the card appeals as a potentially useful event for the time of year, a few of these already shaping with a good deal of promise while there is plenty of appeal among the handful of newcomers in the field.
The selection is a son of Fame And Glory who is a half brother to bumper (debut)/2m hurdle winner West Coast Time out of a very smart multiple bumper (including at Grade 1 level)/very smart 2m-3m hurdle (including at Grade 1 level) winner who was a half sister to smart dual bumper (including at Listed level)/dual 2m hurdle/2m chase winner Manners out of a dual bumper/useful 2m-2m 4f hurdle/fairly useful 2m-3m chase winner. This gelding is trained by Joseph O’Brien and makes obvious appeal on paper, a half brother to a first-time-out scorer in this sphere for connections and out of a high-class hurdler who was also smart in bumpers, herself a half sister and daughter of good bumper horses. He is bred to make a swift and pronounced impact in this sphere, while he hails from an excellent stable that supplied both the first and second home in this race 12 months ago; for all he starts out in a useful enough race, his paper credentials are second to none and a winning start wouldn’t at all surprise.
The Gordon Elliott-trained Hammerstein is a son of Dansili who has looked one of the stable’s lesser lights in three outings to date, following just a fair debut fourth at Thurles back in March with a laboured effort at Ballinrobe the following month (2m 2f on heavy ground), coming home a tailed-off eighth. He stepped up on those two efforts when contesting a bumper at Tramore 48 days ago (4/1 chance), waited with in midfield and travelling with a lot more fluency, ridden to try and challenge over two furlongs out and, though winning the battle for second place, proving no match for easy winner Dumhach Thra. He ought to prove capable of winning a small race based on that evidence, showing improved form for his first encounter with better ground; likely vulnerable to improvers.
Paul Flynn’s Chasing Abbey is a son of Yeats who debuted in a bumper at Roscommon last month (25/1 chance), held up in rear until progress over six furlongs out, short of room on the inner when moving closer still with half a mile left to run, running green when attempting to challenge in the straight but battling on well to chase home Jerandme. This gelding offered plenty to work on that day, his inexperience plain for all to see, travelling better than most into the straight but held back by greenness when it came to the crunch; penalised winner has been turned over since and the overall form of that race nothing special, but very much a player granted normal improvement.
The Luke Comer-trained Rock Breaker is a son of Elzaam who made his debut outing in a bumper at Wexford a little under a month ago (33/1 chance), soon to the fore and taking a keen hold on the front end, still travelling best on the turn into the home straight but soon ridden and pressed on either side, headed 150 yards out and having to settle for third behind Sweet Flight (beaten 3½ lengths). It was a highly encouraging first effort from this Flat-bred colt, his refusal to settle probably costing him in the end, worn down late by two stronger stayers having travelled best into the straight. That rates as solid form and the manner in which he travelled that day suggested he can win one these races sooner rather than later; all in all, it’d be somewhat surprising if he wasn’t heavily involved here.
The other newcomer in the field of significant interest is Henry de Bromhead’s Ourauldman, a son of Court Cave who is the third foal of an unraced sister to bumper (debut)/dual 2m 4f hurdle/useful 2m 6f-3m 2f chase winner Mostly Bob and half sister to bumper (debut)/Listed-placed 2m 3f-2m 4f hurdle winner Hannibal The Great out of a 12f 3yo Flat/2m 4f hurdle winning half sister to 12f 3yo Flat/Grade 1-placed 2m-2m 4f hurdle (including at Grade 2 level)/2m 2f chase winner Montalcino and dual bumper (including on debut)/Grade 3-placed 2m hurdle winner Meadow Vale. This gelding’s sales price rose from €4,000 as a yearling to €36,000 as a three-year-old, looking the part on paper, his dam an unraced sister to useful jumper Mostly Bob and half sister useful hurdler Hannibal The Great, both of whom were successful first time out in this sphere. For all he comes from a yard not associated with debut winners in bumpers, it did win both the 2011 and 2014 renewals of this race with newcomers; with the booking of Patrick Mullins signalling intent, it’d be rather surprising if this son of Court Cave couldn’t go close here.
The Peter Fahey-trained Elusive Belle is a daughter of Elusive Pimpernel who is a half sister to Irish/US 1m winner Bellini Bliss out of a 6f 2yo debut winner who was a half sister to Italian 10f Group 1 winner Eva’s Request, Irish 7f 2yo Group 1 winner Priory Belle, Irish 7f Group 3 winner Wild Bluebell and the dam of Chriselliam, Very Special and Mengli Khan. This filly boasts a useful Flat pedigree, bred for more or less half of the distance she’ll tackle here; that not always a bad thing in this sort of race, especially around a course such as this, but others still appeal more.
6.30 Epsom – SPIRIT WARNING (nap)
This maiden has a good record of producing an above-average performer – notable past winners including Surrey Star, Repeater, Fire Fighting, Faithful Creek and Epsom Icon – and this year’s renewal sees a duo of twice-raced types to have made the frame meet a pair of once-raced colts open to improvement and a couple of newcomers.
The selection, trained by Andrew Balding, is a nicely-bred son of Charm Spirit who made his debut outing in a 6f novice event at Newmarket (July) 40 days ago (20/1 chance), slowly into stride and running green at the rear of the field, shaken up over two furlongs out and continuing to run green, outpaced over a furlong out and eventually coming home seventh of nine behind Calyx (beaten 21 lengths). This colt is almost certainly much better than the bare facts of that debut run can communicate, caught cold when the tempo lifted inside the final two furlongs, the exciting winner stringing the field right out. He is bred to excel with time and distance, the additional furlong on offer here sure to suit, while his first-season sire has enjoyed a good amount of success already. The stable’s two-year-olds tend to improve plenty for a run and has a good record with its youngsters at this venue (31 per cent strike-rate during the past decade), going close with the likes of Goldoni and Zanetto in recent renewals of this race; open to improvement, this son of Charm Spirit is liable to prove a lot more competitive second time around.
The William Haggas-trained Eyelool is a son of Dragon Pulse who debuted in a 6f novice event at Newbury back in May (4/1 joint-favourite), rearing as the stalls opened and behind until recovering before halfway, shaken up to challenge over a furlong out and holding every chance, unable to go with the principals inside the final furlong as he came home in fifth behind Advertise (beaten 5 lengths). He was sent off the 8/13 market leader for a 6f novice race at Ripon six weeks ago, soon to the fore and racing with enthusiasm on the front end, shaken up over two furlongs out and headed approaching the final furlong, hitting the rail and losing focus until rallying close home to finish 1¾ lengths adrift of Kuwait Station. He had very much had the run of things and collided with the rails having received a couple of reminders, worth remembering he’s already gelded; that form nothing special either, but he does come from a decent race at Newbury and is likely to be suited by a seventh furlong, so should be involved once more.
Mark Johnston’s Light Heart is a son of Excelebration who finished second of three in a 6f novice auction event at Ayr on debut last month, but he failed to make the anticipated improvement (11/8 favourite) when upped to 7f for a similar event at Musselburgh a couple of weeks ago, leading/disputing until headed over two furlongs out and proving one paced thereafter as he came home fourth of five behind Wee Jim (beaten 2¼ lengths). He hasn’t really done enough in those two runs to suggest he’s a maiden winner in waiting, but he comes from a top northern stable that has enjoyed plenty of success in this race, winning three of the past five renewals including with some useful sorts; likely to be ridden forward and sure to give it his best shot, but one or two others make more appeal.
The George Scott-trained Manguzi is a son of Planteur who debuted in a 6f novice event at Nottingham five weeks ago (16/1 chance), soon close up and pushed along at the halfway point, ridden two furlongs out and fading inside the final furlong to come home ninth of 12 behind True Mason (beaten 10½ lengths). This colt appeared to be fairly clued up for one from this stable, fading from prominence over a furlong out having known enough to sit close to the action, spared a hard race once held. He shaped on that occasion as though a lack of fitness was the key issue, and he is entitled to strip fitter for that outing; in-form stable’s youngsters generally benefit for a run and the additional furlong on offer will suit, so an improved performance from this son of Planteur is likely in the offing.
There are a couple of newcomers in the field, the first of them being Gary Moore’s Slade King, a son of Slade Power who is a half brother to Grade 1-placed Irish/US 7-10f winner (including at Grade 3 level) Queen Of The Sand, Listed-placed 10-12f winner Rydan and 1m 2yo winner King Of The Sand, out of an unraced half sister to 5f 2yo Listed winner Bodyguard. This colt was sold for €60,000 as a yearling and certainly makes appeal on pedigree, a half brother to a very useful pair as well as this yard’s 1m 2yo winner King Of The Sand. He ought to prove capable of making an impact in his first season over this distance, but his siblings all improved with racing and it’s likely this colt will improve a fair amount for this first run, from a stable that doesn’t have many winning newcomers.
John Quinn’s The Great Story is a son of Sea The Moon who is a half brother to smart Italian 7f-1m winner (including the Italian 1000 Guineas) Lokaloka, smart Italian 5-6f winner (including at Group 3/Listed level) Lohit, smart Italian 7f-1m 2yo winner (including at Listed level) Lasika and Listed-placed Italian 7f 2yo winner Marziano, out of a Listed-placed Italian 6f 2yo winner. This colt fetched 22,000gns as a yearling at auction and makes a fair amount of appeal on pedigree despite that relatively modest price tag, by a stamina influence but related to several smart sprinters/milers in Italy that were also able to win at two. His good northern stable can have them ready to strike at the first time of asking (0-3 with 2yos here), and it will be interesting to see what the market makes of him.