Sunday 23 October 2016

Weld's star to rule at Navan

Ascot Gold Cup hopeful to put unbeaten record on the line in seasonal debut

Just 48-hours after the second favourite for this year's Ascot Gold Cup was overturned at York, the current market leader for the race will make his seasonal debut at Navan tomorrow afternoon.

Brown Panther put in a bold show but had to settle for minor honours in the Yorkshire Cup yesterday for Tom Dascombe and tomorrow the unbeaten Forgotten Rules will begin his season in the recognised Ascot Gold Cup prep, the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan.

The 1m6f Group Three contest has been won in the past by the legendary Yeats and by fellow subsequent Ascot Gold Cup winners Fame And Glory and last years hero Leading Light and Forgotten Rules could be the next superstar to grace the Meath track.

On a relatively quiet weekend for Irish flat racing ahead of the Guineas weekend at the Curragh next week, the Vintage Crop Stakes looks an an unmissable race with Forgotten Rules having to give weight away to some high class rivals such as last years rapid improver Panama Hat, Jim Bolger's recent Limerick winner Unanswered and the sole British raider Biographer who was a length and three-parts off Forgotten Rules when they met at Ascot back in October.

On ratings, the Punchestown bumper-winning Forgotten Rules is already superior to his rivals.

But you feel that the 113 that the handicapper currently rates him could still be a modest assessment as he has his biggest challenges ahead of him but this is a horse with an incredible amount of gears who stays exceptionally well and wherever connections opt to point him you'd imagine he is going to take an awful lot of beating and like yesterday's York winner Snow Sky, you just wonder would Melbourne be the end of season target for Forgotten Rules.

Weld will also give a second start to Forgotten Rules' half brother Time To Inspire on what is an intriguing card at Navan.

The son of Galileo had one start in a maiden at the Curragh earlier in the year but steps up to 1m5f here in a bid to open his account and he could possibly give Weld, Smullen and Moyglare a double on the card and end Aidan O'Brien's four-year domination in the race.

Proceedings get started with the Brews Hill Race a three-year-old contest over five-furlongs and it will be very interesting to see how Michael Halford's Godolphin colt Toscanini fares out on his seasonal bow.

Last seen at the Curragh on Champions Weekend when second in the National Stakes to subsequent Guineas winner Gleneagles, Halford is opting to drop his charge back to an extended five-furlongs where he takes on Ballydoyle's Father Frost.

Meanwhile, Curragh trainer Ken Condon yesterday admitted that supplementing Success Days for the Epsom Derby is becoming increasingly possible.

Owned by Robert Ng, the colt would have to be added to the field at a cost of £75,000 but following his latest win in the Derrinstown and after the Dante win of Golden Horn who also isn't in the Derby, Condon said: "It's a big decision and it doesn't have to be made until June 1, but the owner is leaning towards it.


"He won very impressively last week and it was a very good time considering the ground.

"We've seen the trials now and no one seems to be putting their hands up, bar Golden Horn, and he might not run as he needs to be supplemented, too. He's come out of the race in super form and he looks very progressive.

"Okay, he's been winning on soft ground, but I'd like to think he'd have been just as impressive on the slow side of good," he said.

Condon added: "We're giving it serious consideration and he certainly deserves a place in the line-up."

Dermot Weld's Zawraq is a colt that has continued to shorten in the betting for the Derby without running and it now appears that he will go straight to Epsom rather than take in Saturday's 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

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