herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

grounds for sweet success

Condon can join an elite club in Derrinstown with Days who clearly enjoys testing conditions

Since 1998, only five trainers have won the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown with Aidan O'Brien a dominant force in the race but Dermot Weld, Jim Bolger and John Oxx have all won the race more than once, with David Wachman the other.

This year there could be a fourth different winning trainer in as many years and a new name to add to the list of five that have triumphed in the last 17 years or so as Ken Condon looks to claim one of his biggest training triumph's with Success Days in the Group Three feature.

A winner of the Ballysax Stakes when beating two highly regarded colts from Ballydoyle and Rosewell, Success Days has a clear fondness for the testing conditions.

He won't find matters straightforward tomorrow now that both O'Brien and Weld know what they are dealing with but the with defection of John F Kennedy and Zawraq, and the ground likely to be ideal for him, this looks an ideal opportunity for Success Days to complete the hat-trick.

Order Of St George is the real Ballydoyle hope in this contest, although they do also run Cradle Mountain who has to find a lot on ratings to even make the frame, while Weld has declared Cork maiden winner Summaya.

In a wide open looking Derby picture, it will be interesting to see if Order Of St George can promote himself in the Ballydoyle ranks.

On the same afternoon Ryan Moore heads to France where he'll partner Highland Reel in the French 2,000 Guineas which will also throw up potential clues about the Epsom highlight and O'Brien is double handed as he also runs War Envoy in the same race with Colm O'Donoghue taking that ride.

O'Brien hasn't won the French 2,000 Guineas since 2007 but with Highland Reel drawing the seemingly plum gate of stall seven, he could be the one that breaks that gap. Moore will also ride Ballydoyle's Cape Clear Island on the same Longchamp card as he lines up beside stable companion Royal Navy Ship in the Group Two Prix Hocquart over 1m3f.

Other Irish interest at Longchamp tomorrow comes in the form of leading sprinter Maarek who contests the Group Three Prix Saint Georges over the minimum distance of five furlongs.

Evanna McCutcheon's stable star has drawn stall nine and will take on 11 rivals for the race with Jamie Spencer renewing the partnership having finished third on the eight-year-old at Naas just under a fortnight ago.

Meanwhile, at Killarney tomorrow there's an all-jump card as their popular May meeting gets underway with a first runner at the track for Nicky Henderson who sends former Champion Chase hero Finian's Rainbow over for the Leane's Tool Hire & Lawnmowers Chase over 2m4f.

The 12-year-old will be making his first racecourse appearance since pulling up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November 2013 and will be ridden by Paul Townend in the €18,000 contest.

Henderson's charge will face stiff opposition in shape of Mouse Morris' BoyleSports Champion Chase runner-up Baily Green who makes a quick reappearance after being narrowly denied in the closing stages by Felix Yonger at the Punchestown Festival last week.

Mullins sends four runners to the Kerry track including the Ruby Walsh-ridden Whiteout who landed the Mares Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival last week.

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