Aklan may be the one to side with


RACING:BETTING AGAINST Johnny Murtagh’s judgment is mostly an expensive pastime but it could pay in Roscommon’s Listed feature this evening.

The champion jockey had the choice of three Aga Khan-owned horses in the 10-runner Lenebane Stakes and has plumped for the Mick Halford-trained Massiyn ahead of the John Oxx pair, Aklan and Handazan.

Considering Oxx has won the race in three of the last four years, that is a firm pointer to Massiyn’s chances, especially considering three-year-olds have dominated the mile-and-a-half event in recent seasons.

“It’s quite a compliment, as Johnny would have had the choice of his Highness’s three horses in the race,” said Halford yesterday. “Massiyn is very tough and progressive. It’s the first time over a mile and a half but it shouldn’t be a problem. He’s going the right way.” Halford also has the older runner Defining Year, while Aidan O’Brien runs Offer but in an ultra-competitive heat, Aklan might offer some value.

Ben Curtis is back on board a gelding he rode to win on his Curragh debut on soft ground and while Aklan will have to improve markedly on his last start at Limerick, he does sport a first-time tongue-strap.

Count Of Limonade is the Ballydoyle hope in the opening juvenile maiden but testing ground could be better suited to the Pivotal filly Daymooma, third on her debut at the Curragh.

Willie Mullins and Pat Smullen are a formidable duo on the flat and Tarla is a fascinating contender for the 10-furlong maiden on what will be just her second start for the champion jumps trainer.

Tarla won the first in a Grade Three hurdle over two years ago at the Punchestown festival.

Fairyhouse chances of racing are 50-50

FAIRYHOUSE RATE their chances at no more than “50-50” about the track passing an 8am inspection this morning ahead of tomorrow’s re-scheduled fixture.

The Group Three Brownstown Stakes card was cancelled last week due to waterlogging.

“All we need is a good day with some sun and wind but we haven’t got it yet,” manager Peter Roe said yesterday. “I would say our chances are 50-50. If there is any chink of light we could inspect again. But we will be realistic in the morning.”

The Wexford card lost to the elements on Friday has been rescheduled for this Wednesday with a start time of 2.05pm.

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