Legendary owner JP McManus and trainer Tony Martin could break dramatic new flat-race ground on Saturday as their star two year old Clonard Street is in line to run in the Group One Criterium De Saint-Cloud.
Europe’s final top-flight race for juveniles in 2014 has just five entries left in it after the latest forfeit stage including Clonard Street who was purchased by McManus after winning a Galway maiden in August. He subsequently finished runner-up to Ol’ Man River in the Curragh’s Beresford Stakes.
Martin has enjoyed high-profile handicap victories on the flat, as has McManus, but their principal focus is on the National Hunt game. They combined to win the Galway Hurdle with Thomas Edison during the summer, just days before Clonard Street won his maiden for original trainer John McConnell.
Richard Hannon has also left Crafty Clone in the mile and a quarter race but Aidan O'Brien has taken out all his original entries for a race the champion trainer has won four times in the past.
This evening's flat action at Dundalk could see the promising apprentice Robbie Downey continue to impress with a double.
Eddie Lynam’s principal focus is on Slade Power’s upcoming Grade One swansong at Flemington in the Darley Classic, a task jockey
warmed up for with a Listed win on the Melbourne Cup undercard. However Lynam will no doubt keep an eye on Downey’s mount Akasaka in tonight’s claimer.
Akasaka is a six-time course winner, including over this distance, and Downey's claim only adds to an obvious chance on official figures.
The Kilcock-born jockey has put in some polished performances recently and could suit the double-course winner Rose Angel who ruined her chance with a slow start last time but has first-time blinkers on in the mile apprentice handicap.
Perfect Ten looked to improve significantly for the all-weather in her last start and should contend in the finale.