Irish Rookie: drops back to Listed level at Ascot
PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Preview: Ascot, Friday
Carraig Insurance EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Valiant Stakes (Listed), 1m, 3yo+
IRISH ROOKIE finished an honourable fourth to Alice Springs in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket a fortnight ago and sets the standard in this Listed contest.
In addition to taking a significant drop in class, Irish Rookie also has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle and it is no surprise that she has been installed as a short-price favourite by bookmakers.
Irish Rookie has been highly tried since winning a Listed race at Newmarket in November 2014 and she is a top price of 13-8 to register an overdue and deserved win following a number of creditable efforts at a higher level.
Trainer Martyn Meade still has Group 1 ambitions for his stable star, however, and is using this prize as a springboard to bigger and better things.
“She ran a really good race at Newmarket and I’m hoping she can have a confidence-booster now that she drops in class – that’s the object of the exercise,” Meade said.
“All being well she’ll be aimed at races like the Matron Stakes and Sun Chariot Stakes, in which she finished third last year, later in the season.”
Irish Rookie’s biggest challenge, according to the ratings and bookmakers, is likely to be provided by 11-4 shot Mix And Mingle, who wasn’t disgraced behind Minding in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on her latest start.
Mix And Mingle is trained by Chris Wall, who warned that his filly may prove slightly vulnerable to some hardened, race-fit opponents.
“She’s been off the track since the Guineas principally because the ground hasn’t been suitable – she is not a soft-ground filly. She will have to take on match-fit rivals and that may prove a difficult task, particularly as some of mine haven’t been running as I would have hoped,” Wall said.
“There’s still plenty of time for her though, and when we get everything right she will do well.”
Remainder of the field
James Tate saddles two of the nine declared runners in the shape of the hat-trick seeking Light And Shade and Namhroodah, while William Haggas, who has won the race twice in the last nine years, relies on Muffri’Ha.
Black Cherry is the other four-year-old in the contest, while three-year-olds Delve, Raaqy and Red Box complete the line-up.
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