The three-year-old colt made his debut last week at Galway, and really caught the eye in defeat behind the well-backed Boherbuoy. The Ballybrit track is a very difficult place for newcomers, but the penny really seemed to drop in the closing stages as The Crewmaster flew home to finish within two lengths of the winner.
Boherbuoy, who had the benefit of two previous outings, earned a mark of 91 for that victory, indicating quite clearly just how good an effort it was by the runner-up.
Although he hasn’t had a lot of time to soak up the experience, it’s reasonable to expect The Crewmaster will showed improved form this time and, from a good draw, should prove very hard to beat.
Griko ran to a reasonable level behind the potentially very smart Cognitive Ease, and could give the selection most to think about, though Jim Bolger newcomer Catch Word should be noted in the market.
Although it’s a shade disappointing Lieutenant General hasn’t got off the mark after three runs, he sets a very high standard in the seven-furlong maiden and is hard to oppose. He’s likely to be a very short price, but is entitled to be so based on his debut effort and most recent run.
He should make no mistake this time, though John Oxx’s filly, Star Of Kings, was quietly fancied against the colts in a Curragh maiden won by Shogun, and is respected.
If Field Of Athenry’s most recent victory, in a Listed race at Leopardstown, can be taken literally, he should have no trouble making the step up to Group company for the Ballyroan Stakes. The ground will be much quicker this time, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the improving colt.
He has a clear edge over most of his rivals, and is taken to continue his progress, at the expense of Certerach. The latter was taken out of a race in Galway because of soft ground, but had high-class form in Meydan in 2014, and will relish today’s conditions.
With yesterday’s meeting at Sligo abandoned, should this evening’s programme get the go-ahead conditions are likely to be extremely testing. That shouldn’t be a major issue for Off The Mark, who looks the one to beat in the Guinness Sligo Handicap Hurdle.
Runner-up to the now 135-rated Aminabad in a heavy ground bumper at Limerick back in March of last year, he made a winning start over hurdles on his seasonal return in 2015, at Kilbeggan, but disappointed at Ballinrobe next time. He then ran better than his placing suggests, when last of four behind Riviera Sun on his most recent start, at Roscommon, recently.
The five-year-old is potentially well ahead of his current mark, and can prove more than a match for his rivals here. Kylecrue, who is a winner on similar conditions, rates the danger.