Keredari looks the pick
LEOPARDSTOWN’S BANK Holiday Monday Group Three feature has a classic pedigree in the last decade and the John Oxx-Mick Kinane team will hope that Keredari can signal that sort of potential himself this afternoon.
Ten runners line up for the JRA Killavullan Stakes over seven furlongs which threw up both Grey Swallow (2003) and Footstepsinthesand (2004) before they landed the Irish Derby and 2,000 Guineas respectively.
Footstepsinthesand was one of six Aidan O’Brien-trained winners in the last 10 years and the champion trainer runs three today with Johnny Murtagh teaming up with Utrillo.
On Saturday the in-form Murtagh brought the O’Brien-trained colt, St Nicholas Abbey, from the rear to lead over a furlong out in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
Air Chief Marshal, which will have his 10th start of the season, can boast two very fine efforts in Group One company and should relish a step back up in trip. However his best form is on a testing surface.
In contrast Oxx will be happy with the ground as Keredari impressed on his Roscommon debut when making virtually all to win on good to firm going.
As a son of Oasis Dream, Keredari looks a very different type to Rayeni who won the Killavaullan for Oxx last year but on a relatively slow season for the Curragh trainer on the juvenile front this season, Keredari has looked a decent prospect.
Thunder Bridge won by 13 lengths on his Sligo debut on a deep surface but his 4 to 1 SP that day hardly testifies to boundless confidence on the run up to the race while it will be interesting to see how the Dewhurst form holds up with the Newmarket eighth Free Judgement.
The other black type contest at Leopardstown is the Listed Jockey Club of Turkey Trigo Stakes in which the once-raced Haralan will attempt to build on the good impression he made at Gowran last August. He faces a tough task though with Grace O’Malley returning for her first start since finishing fourth in the Irish Oaks – before which she had beaten Tanoura in a Cork Group Three – and the topweight Jumbajukiba who returned to form on his last start.
Jumbajukiba has shown a dislike for the Dublin course in the past, however, whereas She’s Our Mark is proven around here and ran well when runner-up to Aspectoflove at Naas last time.
Dance On By, a full sister to High Chaparral, makes her debut for Ballydoyle in the opening maiden while Johnny Murtagh’s championship ambitions can also be boosted by Don Carlos who should build on his Cork debut in the colts maiden.
The going will be very different at Galway and that won’t be any problem to Alpha Ridge who kicks off his fencing career in the Beginners Chase where his ability to thrive in the mud should give Paul Nolan’s stayer an edge over China Rock.
Ruby Walsh teams up with the prolific bumper winner Luska Lad who starts off over hurdles in the opener while Last Draw will be a big fancy in the novice hurdle.
Natural High returns to Galway after winning a bumper here at the festival and goes for Dermot Weld and Robbie McNamara in the amateur race. Since the summer he has won a flat maiden at Tipperary and this rare Moyglare owned National Hunt runner looks a horse rapidly on the upgrade.