Sunday 17 December 2017

Griffin's Last Derby goes more in hope

Eoin Griffin is hoping The Last Derby can regain his sparkle in the paddypower.com Cork Grand National at the Mallow course tomorrow.

The summer has not gone to plan for the six-year-old, whose finest hour came exactly 12 months ago when he won the United House Gold Cup at Ascot.

Although he landed a hurdle race at Cork in July, he has since been well beaten in the Galway Plate and Munster National.

His trainer admits to be going "in more hope than confidence" when he lines up for the three-and-a-half mile stamina test.

"We have been a bit disappointed with him over the summer, even though he's only run three times," said the Co Kilkenny handler.

"He won one race for us, but his performances in the Galway Plate and in the Munster National were not what we would have expected.

"I think the ground will probably be gone on him on Sunday. It may be too soft and we may put him away until the spring after this, for something like the Irish National as he is better on good ground.

"We will be going there more in hope than confidence and hopefully he'll run a good race for us.

"He hasn't been running poorly, it's just that he's not been running up to the expectations we had of him and we can't put our finger on it."

Christy Roche is looking forward to running Streets Of Gold for owner JP McManus.

The Co Kildare trainer believes the eight-year-old will relish the extreme distance and the rain-softened conditions.

"He ran well in Sligo (second over two and a half miles) and the trip will suit him," said Roche.

"He has a good racing weight for a small horse. He hasn't a lot of scope so the weight he has is fine for him.

"The ground won't bother him. I'm hoping for a big run."

The distance and the ground hold no fears for Garryowen Star, who was fourth in this race last year.

Trainer Charlie Swan believes the eight-year-old is ready to put up a good show on his first run of the campaign.

"He's having his first run back, but he's fairly fit. He's in good form and he's got a nice weight on his back so I'm looking for a big run," said the Co Tipperary handler.

"The softer the ground, the better for him."

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