FAME AND GLORY and Rite Of Passage feature among 12 possible runners in Sunday’s Seamus & Rosemary McGrath Memorial Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown.
Aidan O’Brien’s Fame And Glory is a multiple Group One winner over lesser distances and has been stepped up in trip this year with a view to a tilt at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next month.
Rite Of Passage, trained by Dermot Weld, has not been seen since winning that two-and-a-half-mile feature last June, but could make his return to action this weekend.
Weld has also entered Universal Truth, while Red Cadeaux is an interesting candidate for Ed Dunlop.
Table Mountain won twice for O’Brien before joining trainer Robbie Hennessy, but he is unsure whether to let him line up in Listed company.
“He’s going to do a bit of work on Wednesday morning and we’ll know more then,” said Hennessy.
“It’s a hot-looking race, but the trouble is he’s a horse who is going to be hard to place as he’s rated 93 on the Flat.
“In a lot of handicaps he’s going to have an awful lot of weight and I just don’t know if he’s good enough for for Listed races.
“If we can pick a race or two on the Flat for him we will, and he’ll go novice hurdling next season.”
Meanwhile, Master Of Hounds, Aidan O’Brien’s Kentucky Derby fifth, remains on track for next month’s Belmont Stakes.
The three-year-old is enjoying a globetrotting start to the year, having narrowly been denied in the UAE Derby at Meydan prior to his US jaunt.
He holds entries in the Epsom Derby and at Royal Ascot, but O’Brien’s wife, Anne-Marie, has confirmed his next destination will still be Belmont Park in New York.
She told Twitter: “Master Of Hounds worked well this morning and is on target for the Belmont Stakes on June 11th.”
Sans Frontieres is more likely to contest the Hardwicke Stakes than the Gold Cup if he makes the trip to Royal Ascot next month.
Jeremy Noseda’s son of Galileo enjoyed a superb campaign during 2010, winning his final three starts rounded off with success at Group One level in the Irish St Leger.
He was forced to miss a planned tilt at the Melbourne Cup after suffering an attack of azoturia, a condition that affects the muscles of horses, but he is now in line for a return to action.
Barry Simpson, racing manager to owner Robert Ogden, said: “I need to speak to Jeremy but if he goes to Ascot, I think it would more likely be for the Hardwicke than the Gold Cup, although nothing is definite yet.”
Saturday’s Temple Stakes hero Sole Power is not a definite participant at Royal Ascot next month.
Last year’s 100-1 Nunthorpe winner showed his class with a superb display at Haydock, beating off the likes of Kingsgate Native and the ’Budapest Bullet’ Overdose.
Sole Power now heads the betting for the King’s Stand Stakes at the summer showpiece meeting, but his trainer Edward Lynam has warned a return to York in August is his primary objective.
“He’s arrived home 100% and we’re delighted and very proud of him,” said Lynam. “He’s probably 70% to go to Royal Ascot, but our main aim is the Nunthorpe. We’d love to go to Hong Kong with him in December as well.”
lTop-class racehorse and stallion Mtoto has died at the age of 28.
Trained by the late Alec Stewart for Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, Mtoto won eight races including the Eclipse Stakes twice, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes twice and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Mtoto retired to Aston Upthorpe Stud in 1989 and spent the next 17 years as a stallion in a career where he sired the Derby winner Shaamit and the Ascot Gold Cup hero Celeric.
Another son, Presenting, has become the top-class National Hunt sire in Britain and Ireland, making Mtoto a grandsire of two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners - Denman and War Of Attrition – and this season’s Grand National hero, Ballabriggs.
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