Irish Daily Mirror


Ballydoyle star’s high Guinness hopes


SHARK Bay should make a bold bid to become the first three-yearold since Taraza in 2001, to land today’s Galway feature, the €110,000 Guinness (Premier) Handicap.

The selection is a tough cookie, should relish the demands of Ballybrit and, despite a 7lb. penalty for a recent win in Gowran Park, might, hopefully, reward each-way support.

Admittedly, this Australia colt has come up short when tried in listed company. But he ran a solid race on his handicap debut when fourth to Urban Oasis in the Ulster Derby.

And, when rated 87, he then dug deep to see off 96-rated subsequent winner Good Heavens in a median auction race in Killarney.

Last time, at Gowran Park last Saturday, he struggled when dropping back to an extended nine furlongs but still got the job done when outpointin­g Jungle Cove, who had won the Nasrullah Handicap at Leopardsto­wn on his previous start.

Now rated 102, Shark Bay faces a stiff test today. But he looks progressiv­e for Aidan O’brien and might have more to offer in a tough race.

Willie Mullins has won four of the last seven renewals of this race and relies, this time, on Baby Zeus, well-beaten in a Kilbeggan maiden hurdle last time, on his first start since last October.

Jessica Harrington’s Laelaps must shoulder top-weight, coming into the race on the back of a defeat by Takeachanc­ejimmy in Ballinrobe last week.

But his previous effort, when a close third to Bay Of Bengal and Tuesday’s Colm Quinn BMW Mile victor Magic Chegaga at the Curragh reads well, although he’s tackling a mile and a half for the first time today.

Similarly, Barry Fitzgerald’s mare Dame Rapide took a hefty 24lb. hike back in May, thanks to wins at Leopardsto­wn and the Curragh, where she beat Monday’s Connacht Hotel heroine Echoes In Rain, and she’s one for all short-lists today.

Joseph O’brien has yet to land this prize, but has prospects with tough mare Merroir, a course and distance winner (off a 17lb. lower mark) here last year and successful on her 2022 return, when repeating last year’s win in a valuable fillies handicap in Ballinrobe. Raised 5lb. for that win, she should have improved from the outing.

Cask Mate has prospects, while revitalise­d mare Dha Leath is on a roll and should stay this longer trip.

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