Prague am­bi­tion for Mc­Cor­mack

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING -

JOCKEY Colm Mc­Cor­mack trav­els to Prague to­day for his first ride in the 127 th Velka Par­du­bicka at Par­du­bice race­course. Mc­Cor­mack, who rides for the likes of Dianne Sayer, Rebecca Men­zies and Ken Slack from his Salt­burn base in North York­shire, will team up with his old friend Guil­laume Ma­caire, the trainer of Songe D’Estru­val.

The 11-year-old has been sup­ple­mented to run along­side sta­ble­mate Vir­tus D’Estru­val, which will be rid­den by Jan Fal­te­jsek. Josef Vana, now 65 and who has won the race eight times, rides Ange Guardian, whom he trains him­self.

Mc­Cor­mack has noth­ing like that ex­pe­ri­ence to call up, ad­mit­ting: “It’s my first ride in the race and I haven’t walked the course yet, I’ve only seen it on TV. Guil­laume has had run­ners be­fore, but none since 2001, I think. He sup­ple­mented my horse, but Jan’s was al­ways go­ing to run.

“When I got the call I couldn’t turn it down, I’ve prob­a­bly missed a cou­ple of rides at Kelso, but this is a good op­por­tu­nity.”

Ur­gent De Gre­gaine, a win­ner over the cross-coun­try course at Chel­tenham in Jan­uary, rep­re­sents Em­manuel Clayeux and Felix de Giles.

Mean­while, star mare Ap­ple’s Jade could make her sea­sonal reap­pear­ance in the Lis­mullen Hur­dle at Na­van on Novem­ber 12.

The five-year-old won Grade One events at Ain­tree and Punchestown in the spring of 2016, when trained by Wil­lie Mullins, but was one of the most high-pro­file horses to leave the cham­pion trainer last au­tumn fol­low­ing a well-pub­li­cised split with Gig­gin­stown House Stud.

She has won three of her six starts since join­ing Gor­don El­liott, claim­ing the Hat­ton’s Grace at Fairy­house, the Mares’ Hur­dle at Chel­tenham and the Mares Cham­pion Hur­dle at Punchestown.

A Toi Phil is set to be aimed at a Grade Two chase for sec­ond-sea­son novices at Down Royal on Novem­ber 4.

Last sea­son’s Lexus Chase win­ner Out­lander is likely to con­test the Cham­pion Chase on the same af­ter­noon.

Death Duty sur­vived a fi­nal-fence blun­der to make a win­ning chas­ing de­but at Tip­per­ary last Sun­day and is set for an im­mi­nent step up in class. “He’ll prob­a­bly go to the Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown next month and then go to the Drin­more at Fairy­house from there, all be­ing well,” said El­liott.

The Cul­len­tra han­dler con­firmed last sea­son’s Supreme Novices’ Hur­dle hero Labaik “prob­a­bly won’t get to run this sea­son” as he con­tin­ues to re­cover from in­jury.

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