It’s been a good year on the Flat starting with Gleneagles winning both the Irish & English, Golden Horn proving a really deserving middle distance champion and the re-emergence of Frankie Dettori.
The horse for me though was Solow who stood out as the best miller around and he’ll stay in training next year.
I’d a lot of young horses this year that we’ve brought along slowly and hopefully can hit the ground running with them next season from the get-go.
That’s the thing about the racing game. Whether you’re a jockey or a trainer it’s all about winners. Speaking of which ….
The opener is very competitive but GREAT WIDE OPEN could be worth chancing to improve again after putting in an eye-catching run last week when staying on well behind Bishan Bedi. Trainers Mick Halford and Jim Bolger have three runners between them and the consistent Hat Alnasar could be the pick of them.
In the 6pm, I run Set to Fire who is the highest-rated in the field and if you forgive her last run she should be fighting out the finish. While she’s never raced on the sand before but the lad who rides here out at home says she should handle it.
I’d fear Aidan O’Brien’s favourite though OSCAR DOMINGUEZ though who is getting 5lbs from us and has put in a couple of fair runs at Dundalk already.
The Big Bad Boy Maiden at 6.30pm sees David Wachman’s IN HER STRIDE try to improve on her fourth to Embiyra at this venue in October. The stable has had a couple of nice winners here in recent weeks and an go close. Crazy Tornado was an eye-catcher on debut here and can improve for that.
The second division of the maiden could be between the top and the bottom weight with John Oxx’s well-bred ALPHONSUS sure to be suited by 7f round here under Declan McDonogh.
But he’s up against a couple of smart runners in Aidan O’Brien’s Stone Mountain who is rated 80 and Johnny Levins’ Twin Falls the top-rated on 82 with a nice draw in box five.
They set a fair benchmark for this time of year and Russet will have her work cut out for here here on just here second start among these decent-looking types.
Bang there …
In the 1m 4f maiden at 8pm Denis Cullen’s Presenting Julio ran well for Fran Berry here two weeks ago and should improve again.
But Donnacha O Brien is claiming 5lbs off THE CARBONATOR who switches codes.
He was fourth to Footpad in a maiden hurdle at Gowran Park and was joust touched off over 1m 3f at Hamilton a couple of runs back. He’ll be bang there if producing that form tonight.
We can’t really sign off the night (and the year!) without putting something up in the last and David Marnane’s MASKOON looks a reliable yardstick and won here last time out.
The booking of Fran Berry for Turfjager is interesting. He’s been running over hurdles in Ireland and has switched stables but won on the flat in Germany and France. He could be a bit of value if you fancy him to reproduce some of his better form.