Wednesday 16 January 2019

Lyons to spearhead Irish raid

Ainippe goes in search of hat-trick in Flying Childers

A selection of Irish trainers are bidding for the ideal lead up to Irish Champions Weekend with runners on day three of the Doncaster St Leger meeting tomorrow afternoon.

Johnny Murtagh's Ebor winner Mutual Regard was again a notable absentee from the Group Two Doncaster Cup but there is still some Irish representation in the feature race on tomorrow's card, as the in-form trainer Sabrina Harty gives Kalann a step up in grade to take on the likes of Melbourne Cup possible Estimate and Ed Dunlop's Times Up, who goes in search of a hat-trick in the race.

Leigh Roche resumes the role aboard Kalann who impressed when winning a Curragh handicap on his latest start but he's rated a total of 32lbs below Estimate and has to give Queen Elizabeth's filly 3lbs tomorrow.

More likely candidates for an Irish winner come in the first race where Tommy Stack sends over Accepted and Ger Lyons will run two-time winner Ainippe.

Lyons' daughter of Captain Rio is unbeaten in her two starts, both of which came over five furlongs. After surprising at 14/1 on debut, she was bought by Qatar Racing, for whom she won the listed Irish Field Curragh Stakes. Their retained rider, Andrea Atzeni, takes over tomorrow in the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes, which will need to produce a fair sort to deny Ainipee from extending her unbeaten record to three.

Eddie Lynam has already had a fairly memorable campaign this year and he may well be proud of his placing of Agnes Stewart after the Group Two May Hill Stakes tomorrow as she takes on eight rivals.

The grey Fairyhouse maiden winner is stepping up to a mile for the first time after going down to the ever-progressive Jack Naylor at Leopardstown last time out and the daughter of Lawman should relish the extra furlong with Billy Lee remaining onboard.

Mark Jonnston's Muraaqaba is probably the standard setter in the £70,000 contest but with Lynam's horses in such good form Agnes Stewart shouldn't be far away.

Meanwhile, jockey Frankie Dettori continues to make the headlines and after losing the ride on Treve in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the Italian has been confirmed for John Gosden's Forever Now in Saturday's Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

With William Buick having to choose between three Gosden runners, in the race in a bid to win it for a third time, he opted with Romsdal leaving Gosden to call up Dettori for the recent listed winner at Goodwood, who is around about a 14/1 shot.

Trainer Richard Hannon has secured the services of Ryan Moore for 2,000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder in Sunday's Group One Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on Sunday.

Night Of Thunder remains the only horse to have lowered the colours of Kingman in his career, when he was second and Australia was third in the opening Classic of the season at Newmarket, but with Richard Hughes staying loyal to Toronado, the ride on Night Of Thunder became available.

"We call Night of Thunder the 'Kingslayer' in the yard - he beat Kingman fair and square in the Guineas - and he has benefited from his break.

"Toronado is still very much in the mix for the QEII Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day and we could then look at the Breeders' Cup Mile and Hong Kong," Hannon said.

Moore (pictured) is set to be reunited with The Grey Gatsby in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday. The former champion guided Kevin Ryan's stable star to what at the time was a surprise success in the Dante Stakes at York and was on board again when the Mastercraftsman colt showed that to be no fluke in the French Derby.

He was required for Telescope in the Juddmonte International, with Richard Hughes stepping in as Ryan's charge found only dual Derby hero Australia too good on the Knavesmire last month. Ryan said: "Moore rides, he flies from Doncaster after the Leger."

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