Sabrinsky to deliver for Meade

 

Sabrinsky can bring a touch of French style to the substance of the first six-figure McDonogh Handicap at Galway this evening.

The Listed race's prize fund has reached £100,000 and, not surprisingly, a typically competitive list of the usual suspects is rearing to nab the lions' share of the loot.

Jim Bolger, successful for the previous two years, runs three, including the McDonogh holder Tushna. Dermot Weld has won it six times and also has three, including the 1998 scorer Free To Speak.

The Marlborough winner, Right Honorable, misses out having been sold yesterday to race in Hong Kong, but handicap specialists like Pat Hughes with Silverware and John Mulhern's Scottish Memories mean the race loses little in competitiveness.

Noel Meade's McDonogh record is also impressive, having won it twice with Pinch Hitter (1981-82) but it is 14 years since he landed the prize last with Dromod Hill. Sabrinsky can be fancied to change that.

The French-bred has had a slightly unusual warm-up for this, having won a ladies race at the Curragh under Nina Carberry. However, Sabrinsky could hardly have won more easily, is unpenalised and the Curragh proved what this horse is capable of on reasonable ground and over middle distances.

Three hurdle starts in this country during the winter gave no indication of how smart Sabrinsky had been on the flat in France. A debut second to the subsequent Group One winner, Indian Danehill, as a two-year-old was followed by a victory at Deauville and a pair of three-year-old successes at Maisons-Laffitte and Longchamp on ground that varied from good to heavy.

He lost his way slightly after that but was competing against horses of the calibre of Sendawar. Back on the level at the Curragh he looked the classy performer of old, completely reversed hurdles form with Timber King, and can now continue the good work.

The Meade-trained Young Whack received a taste of tabloid attention during the week when his disqualification from a race at Navan due to nicotine found in his system led to some fanciful photographic imagination.

Young Whack still comes here as a winner, having landed the odds at Tipperary and could just have an edge over the Killarney winner, Tisrabraq, who is locally owned but may be a better horse going left-handed.

Dermot Weld's fillies could be profitable to follow tonight. Saranac Lake ran the $4.4 million Shah Jehan to a short head at Leopardstown. The winner has since been beaten in the Tyros, by a Weld filly, but Saranac Lake should be up to winning against this opposition.

Whisper Light's fifth to Hawkeye at Leopardstown was boosted by the winner's weekend form at the Curragh and the Weld runner can get the better of Ballydoyle's 92-rated Nassau Stakes entry, Love Me True.

Jim Bolger could also visit the winner's enclosure. His Mambo Jambo brings a weekend second to Ciara Flyer to the seven-furlong handicap, form that looks pretty good in this context; and the Killarney winner Countess Sybil doesn't look badly treated off 68 in the last.

Kieren Fallon's Undeterred heads the betting on 7 to 1 for the Vodafone Stewards' Cup at Goodwood on Saturday. The former champion jockey, will be bidding to land his first Stewards' Cup.