Mai Fitzs Jack can get Joseph O’Brien off to a flyer at Listowel

Joseph O’Brien officially launches his training career with seven runners at two meetings today.

The dual Irish champion jockey will saddle four on Gowran Park’s Flat card and has three over jumps at Listowel as he tries to get off to a dream start with a winner.

O’Brien, he has wasted no time in having his first runners after only receiving his licence on Friday.

The 23-year-old had been supervising part of his father’s huge string in Owning, County Kilkenny and they are now officially under his supervision.

With seven runners across two meetings – surely a record for a trainer’s first day – it’ll be a huge surprise if he fails to make a winning start.

In fact, he could have a treble at Listowel, where Mai Fitzs Jack gets the nap to land the two-mile maiden hurdle under Brian O’Connell.

Having run out in a bumper on his first start inside the rails, the winning pointer had questions to answer on his hurdling debut, but did little wrong when, after trying to make all, got caught on the line by Heartbreak City.

Today’s assignment looks no more difficult and, with the experience under his belt, he can jump off in front and go one place better.

O’Brien can also be on the mark with Oathkeeper, in the bumper. A winner on debut, when beating Prince D’Aubrelle at Roscommon, he was unable to confirm that form next time, at Tipperary, but that level stands out against today’s opposition.

While he is entitled to need the run, he will have his favoured quick ground this afternoon, and can prove too smart for Tara Gig, who caught the eye in defeat on his track debut, in a maiden hurdle at Limerick.

O’Brien also has very strong claims in the opener with Kalopsia. 

The dual bumper winner disappointed on her hurdling debut, but that was on very testing ground, and the return to quicker conditions should ensure an improved effort. 

This doesn’t look the toughest of contests, and she can take make light of her five-month absence.

On a tough card at Gowran Park, Schubert should gain an overdue breakthrough success in the Ladies’ Day June 18 Maiden. 

Aidan O’Brien’s colt was caught on the line by newcomer Tony The Gent over seven furlongs at this track two runs ago, and a repeat of that sort of effort should be good enough to go one place better.

Qatari Hunter can follow up Saturday’s impressive success by taking the Festival of Speed July 17 Handicap for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning.

After showing promise in two starts last year and on his return this term, he encountered fast ground for his handicap debut at the Curragh on Saturday, and it yielded an improved effort. 

Carrying a 5lb penalty for that run should not be enough to halt his progress.


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