Tilly’s Chilli can serve up some Down Royal consolation
Jessica Harrington’s in-form charge fancied in lucrative Magners Ulster Derby
Jessica Harrington: came up agonisingly short of a first winner at Ascot on Friday but is eyeing big prize at Down Royal. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty
Jessica Harrington came up agonisingly short of a first Royal Ascot success on Friday but as consolation goes, Saturday’s €100,000 Magners Ulster Derby isn’t too shabby and Tilly’s Chilli can serve it up at Down Royal.
Just nine three year olds line up for the north of Ireland’s biggest flat prize, with a 22lb range in terms of ratings between them.
Three of the runners are fillies and it’s 13 years since the last of the fairer sex won this valuable prize when the future Derby winner Pádraig Beggy claimed 7lbs off the Ger Lyons-trained Green Lassy.
Lyons could have a good day again at Down Royal with Sweet Sounds and Mystic Traveller while he has Percy in the big race itself. However it could ultimately narrow down to a battle of fillies between Tilly’s Chilli and Wingingit.
Both are progressive and in form but Harrington has always maintained a mile and a half will bring the best out of Tilly’s Chilli who steps up to the trip for the first time and can make it four-in-a-row.
The Harrington team will have four runners on Saturday’s jumps card at Gowran as well where local trainer Tom Mullins will have hopes for both Top Othe Ra and Streak.
Sunday’s Gowran action will be on the flat and champion jockey Pat Smullen returns to domestic action with half a dozen rides after his Royal Ascot efforts.
Smullen’s final job will be to try and get Titus back on winning track after a lacklustre return to action at the Curragh earlier this month.
The one time Derby hope travelled well for a mile in the Silver Stakes before fading in the straight and it looks significant that Dermot Weld gives him another shot at an almost ten furlong trip.