Aussie Valen­tine bids to lift Lin­colnshire hex

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING - ASH­LEY IVESON

AUSSIE VALEN­TINE bids to make it fourth-time lucky in the Tote Ir­ish Lin­colnshire at Naas to­day. The seven-year-old filled the run­ner-up spot in the last three re­newals of the race, when trained by Paul Dee­gan, and made an en­cour­ag­ing de­but for Ado McGuin­ness when fourth on the all-weather at Dun­dalk last month.

It is al­most three years since he vis­ited the win­ner’s en­clo­sure, but his new trainer could not be hap­pier with Aussie Valen­tine’s con­di­tion head­ing into his lat­est big-race as­sign­ment.

“He’s been sec­ond in the race three times and he’s got a top-class jockey (Shane Fo­ley) on his back on Sun­day,” said the Lusk han­dler. “We de­cided to give him a pipe-opener in Dun­dalk, just to get his fit­ness lev­els up, and it’s just as well we did with the way the weather has been. We’re very hope­ful of a big run.”

Trainer Michael Mul­vany ex­pects On The Go Again to be un­fazed by the fore­cast test­ing ground.

The five-year-old won four races on the spin last year, but has of late been set some stiff tasks over hur­dles.

He was last seen fin­ish­ing down the field in the Red Mills Trial Hur­dle at Gowran in Fe­bru­ary, but a re­cent work­out con­vinced the Co Meath han­dler that On The Go Again is ready to re­vert to the Flat.

“He worked (Tues­day morn­ing) on the Cur­ragh and we are very happy with him,” said Mul­vany. “He’s been run­ning over hur­dles and he won’t have any prob­lems with the ground, so we are look­ing for­ward to it.”

Adrian Keat­ley is hop­ing a longterm plan will come to fruition with Lucky Mis­take. The four-year-old won at Leop­ard­stown last Septem­ber be­fore be­ing nar­rowly beaten at this track the fol­low­ing month.

And though he has not been seen in com­pet­i­tive ac­tion since then, Lucky Mis­take has been specif­i­cally trained for this race. “Lucky Mis­take is in very good form and will love the ground,” said Keat­ley.

“We put him away at the back-end of last year with this race in mind and we weren’t cer­tain he would get a run, but thank­fully he’s crept in. We’re hop­ing he’ll run a big race.”

Wil­lie McCreery is dou­ble-handed with Elm Grove and Wild As The Wind. “They’re two fil­lies who will like the ground,” said the Rath­bride-based trainer. “Elm Grove has been run­ning in soft ground over hur­dles and I don’t think it will bother Wild As The Wind, ei­ther.”

Ele­gant Pose bids for her fourth vic­tory from just five starts in the Lodge Park Stud Ir­ish EBF Park Ex­press Stakes ear­lier on the card. The Ger Lyons-trained four-year-old claimed a Listed prize over the course and dis­tance last Oc­to­ber and steps up to Group Three level on her sea­sonal re­turn.

With Ai­dan O’Brien’s dual Group One-win­ning filly Rhodo­den­dron not de­clared, Ele­gant Pose is likely to be well fan­cied to make a win­ning reap­pear­ance.

Pa­trick Cooper, rac­ing man­ager for own­ers Anamoine Lim­ited, said: “She’s in good shape and all be­ing well, she’ll take her chance.”

Shane Fo­ley: ‘Top class jockey’

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