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Sunday 17 December 2017

Halford hopes for Defining moment

Michael Halford is looking forward to Defining Year having another crack at Sharestan in tomorrow's Coolmore Stud China Ire.Friendship Silver Stakes at the Curragh.

It was not much of a competition at the Kildare course in March, when John Oxx's Sharestan ran away with the Irish Lincolnshire as Defining Year finished eighth, but Halford feels the step up to a mile and a quarter will be in his runner's favour.

The Hawk Wing gelding was second in three Listed events last year, but his rival has made good subsequent progress to run Famous Name close at Leopardstown and was not far behind Windsor Palace and St Nicholas Abbey in the Mooresbridge Stakes.

Further opposition comes from Aidan O'Brien's Learn, fourth to French Fifteen in a Saint-Cloud Group One in the autumn, while David Wachman runs his Gowran Listed winner Tannery.

"He's in good form and he'll enjoy the ground," said Halford. "The step up in trip will help. I'm expecting a good run from him."

Pat Flynn pitches in Brog Deas, but admits he has a bigger target in mind for the three-year-old, who has won consecutive handicaps at Gowran, Dundalk and Tipperary this spring.

"We are hoping to go for the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot and I wanted to get another run into him, but there are very few places to go," Flynn said.

"I wouldn't normally run a 91-rated horse in a Listed race, but the only races around are 0-90 handicaps and he can't run in them. I don't think he'll mind the mile and a quarter and I hope he'll run a nice race.

"If he were to win, I believe he'll get a 5lb penalty for Ascot, whereas he'll go up 10lb in the handicap if he were to finish second here."

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