Pat Smullen can Discipline opposition in Gowran
American star Tepin is headline act in the Woodbine Mile in Toronto
Pat Smullen: he will be keen to close in on another century of winners as rapidly as possible. Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Pat Smullen will carry the hopes of many punters trying to scoop what is expected to be a first ever €1 million “Pick 6” pool at Gowran on Sunday where the champion jockey’s mount Discipline could prove to be a banker in the Group 3 feature.
With no winner over “Champions Weekend”, a €432,000 “Pick 6” rollover to Gowran has Tote Ireland officials predicting a first ever €1million pool. Punters have to pick the first six winners on Sunday’s card.
Smullen rides in the first three races, and will be keen to close in on another century of winners as rapidly as possible.
With a ninth jockeys’ title all but in the bag, Ireland’s leading jockey is set to beat last year’s tally of 108 winners in an Irish turf season.
He could even have an outside shot at Joseph O’Brien’s 2013 record of 126 winners should Dermot Weld’s team continue to carry all before them.
However, the home weekend feature is the Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Stakes where Discipline makes another visit to Gowran. Famous Name’s full sister won her maiden here in April before later that month finishing runner-up to Bocca Baciata in a Stakes race. That was no disgrace, and she subsequently won some black type at Naas in June, when one of tomorrow’s opponents, How High The Moon, was third.
Discipline has not been seen since, and sports a first-time hood this time. A little cut in the ground should suit her, while the stable could hardly be in better form.
Aljazzi looks the best of the two cross-channel raiders, but the danger could be Cirin Toinne, noticeably strong in the market for last Sunday’s Blandord Stakes where she wasn’t beaten far behind Discipline’s stable companion Shamreen.
It will not be any use for “Pick 6” purposes but Smullen could also be the man for the concluding two races. Ample Sufficiency should prove tough to beat in the concluding maiden, and Weld’s decision to drop Massayan back in trip for the conditions race looks significant after he scrambled home over a mile and a half at Galway.
With Seamus Heffernan likely to remain on the injury sidelines until next weekend, Colm O’Donoghue is on How High The Moon in the big race, and Aidan O’Brien has snapped him up for San Remo in the juvenile colts maiden.
That leaves Niall McCullagh on Jessica Harrington’s Grandee, who was not beaten far by Utah at the Curragh last time. It has also been confirmed that O’Donoghue will appeal the two-day ban he picked up at Listowel on Wednesday for careless riding and breaching the marker-pole rule.
Noel Meade’s runner isn’t the most fluent of jumpers but overcame that to win the Boyne Hurdle last winter. He looked good on his reappearance at Roscommon last month, and he won’t have to worry about his hurdling technique in this race. Jumping problems also forced Ruby Walsh into a memorable ride to win on Penhill at the Galway festival, but Listowel’s traditional flights should be more to his taste in the novice hurdle.
This weekend’s top-flight international action switches to Canada on Saturday night when the American star Tepin is the headline act in the Woodbine Mile in Toronto.
Cork-born jockey Dane O’Neill will try and upset the Royal Ascot winner on the Juddmonte International third Mutakayyef, while Kerryman Oisin Murphy is on board another English-trained hope in Arod. The race is due off at 11.39pm.
Another Irish jockey, Jamie Spencer, will be in action in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes. Spencer rides the David Simcock-trained Majeed, runner-up in a Windsor Listed race last month.