There’s a very good Flat card to start the four-day meeting at Killarney, and trainer Aidan O’Brien has strong claims of leaving the Kerry venue with a treble through Johannes Vermeer, Jinsha Lake and Hallmark.
The last-named contests the closing Ladbrokes Race over 11 furlongs, and gets the nap to follow up his most impressive debut success of less than a fortnight ago.
On that evening he was the final leg of a five-timer for his trainer, and it’s fair to say he won without ever having to be asked a question.
While the worth of the form is hard to assess, he ought to improve for the outing and, that being the case, these rivals may struggle to cope with him.
There are a couple of minor concerns, including the fact he wore a tongue-tie and blinkers on debut, and, also, he holds no fancy entries. However, the visual impression of that victory is hard to ignore, trainer’s son Donnacha takes off a very handy 5lbs, and he can account for some useful rivals, headed by Highly Toxic.
O’Brien’s Johannes Vermeer was a shade disappointing when heavily backed on debut, at Tipperary, but is likely to leave that form behind when he lines up for the maiden which opens the card.
Sent off 8-11 favourite when third behind Mrs King, the son of Galileo should be suited by the extra furlong of today’s race, and, as can be expected of any runner from the stable, he can take a significant step forward.
The colt holds entries in the National Stakes and Racing Post Trophy and if he harbours any hopes of making either of those engagements, he’ll have to win this.
Kitten Loves Roses sets the standard, and is respected, but Dawenkour caught the eye in defeat on debut, behind Herald The Dawn at Naas, and may give the selection most to think about.
O’Brien’s Jinsha Lake looks sure to go well in the Easy Clean Handicap, over 11 furlongs. Runner-up to the now 108-rated Mohaayed on his only start as a two-year-old, he made his return in May, when beating the useful Chenega Bay quite comfortably. The second, third and fourth from that race have all won since, suggesting it may have been a decent race.
Jinsha Lake hasn’t been seen since, and will have to have come on for the run if he’s to justify a rating of 90, but it’s quite likely he has done so, and today’s longer trip should be within compass.
His jockey, Ana O’Brien, claims 5lbs, the colt is quite well drawn, and has more scope than nearly all of his rivals. He is preferred to Xebec.
The feature on tonight’s card is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes, and marginal preference, in a very tough-looking race, is for Devonshire. A high-class filly, who finished a close third in the Irish 1000 Guineas, back in May, she was below her best when last seen, in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Willie McCreery’s filly had more than three months off since then, and if she’s ready to go, this looks a good opportunity to restart her season in style.
She’s officially the best horse in the race and, from a good draw, can prove such. The progressive Sacrificial is feared most, though Akira could outrun her odds.
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