Aussie Valentine bids to lift Lincolnshire hex
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’