Exciting stayer Motherland makes seasonal debut at Tipperary

Joseph O'Brien (centre) runs his progressive stayer Motherland at Tipperary on Thursday
Neville Ring

MOTHERLAND returns to action in the-mile-and-a-half Race this evening.

The Joseph O'Brien-trained Galileo colt came into his own when upped in distance last year, shedding his maiden tag over a mile-and-five furlongs at Ballinrobe in June before turning a supposedly competitive handicap over an extended mile-and-a-half trip into a virtual procession at the Galway Festival.

That 17-length Ballybrit demolition job earned him a 20lb climb in the ratings to 107 and he didn't race again.

End-of-season adjustments saw him with a revised figure of 105 and hopes are that he could even develop into a Cup contender this campaign.

Heading the opposition is the Dermot Weld pair of Ezanak and Tandem, who have questions to answer of a slightly different nature, with Ezanak disappointing less than a fortnight ago and his stablemate off the scene since February of last year in Meydan.

Benkei is a potential place getter after a couple of tune-ups this month and Swamp Fox, unlikely to be overfaced here.

Weld will have high hopes for Dabulena in the opening nine-furlong Tipperary Races Fillies Maiden.

This daughter of Siyouni offered promise when second on her Cork introduction at the start of the month and has the advantage of recent match practice over Ballydoyle runner Alluringly and Jim Bolger's Dawn Of A New Era.

The latter's stable companion Clongowes sets the standard in the following 12-furlong maiden which is confined to three-year-olds.

The Jim Bolger colt beat all bar the exciting Tocco D'Amore at Naas and has most to fear this time from Aidan O'Brien's Leopardstown third Venice Beach.

Tocco D'Amore's trainer Dermot Weld saddles Haripour here, but this half-brother to last season's dual Derby winner Harzand might take a bit more time to fulfil hopes.

This is a mixed card with two maiden hurdles and two bad handicap hurdles to bulk out the evening. There's a maximum field for the two-mile maiden, which should mainly concern Robin Des Foret, Leomare, getting the 10lb weight-for-age allowance, Well Joey and Guitar George.

Patrick Mullins has been losing ground to Jamie Codd in the amateur title battle and bumper winner Robin des Foret might help him with a winner here on his hurdling debut.

An interesting newcomer to this code is Weld's The Steward, who was a pacemaker for Fascinating Rock in top Flat races.

Robyns Approach and Killahara Castle finished runner-up in different divisions of a Wexford handicap hurdle recently and lock horns in the 80-95 handicap hurdle against the likes of veteran Grey Mountain Mist and Game Puppeteer with Righty Rue another to consider. while Foxearth, Getaway Kid and Lyreen Lad are the ones to concentrate on in the three-mile mile maiden hurdle which has just 8 runners from 14 entries, which included four from Dermot Weld including Tandem and Ezanak.


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