Pat Smullen turns up heat on Colin Keane in race for jockey’s title

In a fascinating race for the jockey’s title, reigning champ Pat Smullen has hit a rich vein of form and, following a 1,055-1 four-timer at Roscommon yesterday, is all but breathing down the neck of championship leader Colin Keane.

The four-timer brought his tally for the season to 59, just three behind Keane, with Donnacha O’Brien a further 13 behind the leader.

Having shown promise on debut in the Curragh maiden won by Dawn Delivers, the Tracey Collins-trained Sollertia took a nice step forward when getting Smullen off the mark for the day, in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Race.

A grey daughter of Mastercraftsman, out of Dalakhani mare Royal Blue Star, who won at listed level, the filly had to be hard ridden to assert late.

Smullen completed the second leg of his treble aboard Moyglare filly Knowing You, who landed a tidy touch in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Race.

Dermot Weld’s charge had shown a modicum of promise on debut, in April, but was a non-runner at Gowran in June, when conditions deteriorated rapidly and the going was changed to heavy. It may not have been quite as testing this time, and she certainly looked in trouble at times during the race, but found plenty for pressure to get up late, along the wide outside, to beat favourite Invincible Ryker.

“Five furlongs was obviously too sharp for her (on debut) and she needed every yard of the seven furlongs today,” said Smullen. “She is by Pivotal, and handled the ground quite well, but I think better ground will suit her.”

Ontheiflist made it three for Smullen and another for in-form trainer Harry Rogers when coming through late to race home clear of favourite Apparition in the Peggy Guerin Memorial Handicap.

And Lord Erskine completed a great evening for the champion jockey and a double for Rogers when running away with the finale. Owned by Jerry Nolan, he travelled ominously and readily asserted to belie a late market drift, to 10-1.

In the Pyramid Bookmakers Handicap Shes An Art set out to make all and traded at 1.01 before being picked up in the dying strides by On The Go Again, ridden by Gary Carroll for trainer Michael Mulvaney.

Having failed to find the extras required to score on his previous outing, the Madeleine Tylicki-trained Sirjack Thomas benefited from a shrewd, positive ride from Billy Lee in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

Fellow 15-8 joint-favourite Himmah mounted the only challenge, but she could never quite get on top, and had to settle for second place for the fourth consecutive occasion, in five outings.

“He ran a cracker on debut, but we were a little disappointed he was beaten at Leopardstown, but that may have come too soon,” said Tylicki.

“We got him right for Gowran, where he finished second, and were very pleased with him. The conditions were very testing today, but he is only developing, is a very honest horse, and is getting stronger with each run. He’s one for next year.”

Confirmed mud-lark Youceeyouceecee, trained by Susan Finn, responded well to the strong riding of Killian Leonard to come through late with a winning run in the Eurona BriskNet Handicap. It was a third victory for the son of Rock Of Gibraltar, all with considerable cut in the ground.

After a most-promising debut at the Galway festival, the Eddie Lynam-trained Giorni Felice landed a nice punt in the Abbey Hotel Roscommon Maiden.

He appreciated the conditions, and won in the style of a decent sort.


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