O’Brien calls on Heffernan
SEAMIE given So You Think nod for Leopardstown race.
Excitement continues to mount ahead of Saturday’s Group One Champion Stakes Day at Leopardstown and jockey bookings are becoming clearer, while officials at the Foxrock track water to maintain good to firm ground for their showpiece flat meeting.
While trainer Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph has come in for the majority of plum Ballydoyle rides this season, especially since Ryan Moore’s injury, the 18-year-old will not be onboard the odds-on favourite So You Think on Saturday as Seamie Heffernan gets the chance to renew his partnership.
Heffernan was the first to ride So You Think in Ireland, when he begun the season in fine style by winning the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
Moore then took over for the win in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and shock defeat in the Prince Of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Heffernan returned for the impressive Coral-Eclipse win at Sandown and has had the faith of the horse’s owners ahead of Saturday’s feature.
“Seamie Heffernan will be on him again this time,” said Duncan Ramage, the racing manager for the colt’s part-owner, Dato Tan Chin Nam.
“He’s unbeaten on him and he’s been around Leopardstown a few times, I’m sure, so there’s no worries on that score.
“I think the horse has had an |uninterrupted lead-up and a good preparation, and we’re not anticipating any complications.”
Heffernan looks long odds-on to win the race for a second time, having
won last year’s renewal on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Cape Blanco.
Another man to enjoy previous success in the race is Frankie Dettori, who won it on four previous occasions – the last of which came on
Grandera in 2002 – and he will bid to partner Snow Fairy to become the first filly to triumph in the 10-furlong contest since Timarida in 1996.
Dettori will be cutting it fine for trainer Ed Dunlop as he is in action at Haydock on Saturday afternoon and is then hoping to dash across to make the second-to-last race at Leopardstown.
The charismatic Italian is retained to ride Delegator in the Betfred Sprint Cup at 3.35pm before boarding a plane to be in Leopardstown for 6.15pm at the latest to ride at 6.45pm.
Dunlop, Snow Fairy’s trainer, revealed: “We’re hopeful and fairly confident Frankie will be riding her.
“He rides at Haydock on Saturday but will then go across to Ireland. He’s beginning to know the filly well. It could be a tactical race, Aidan (O’Brien) has three in it and who knows if it will suit, but she’s fit ready to run and we’re running out of options for her.
“She’s had no hiccups, has trained well, but we’re under no illusions – So You Think is going to be a very hard horse to beat.”