Neville Ring: Don't Touch can beat Gordon Lord Byron at Leopardstown
GORDON Lord Byron is out to continue his Indian summer in the Oliver Brady Memorial Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday evening.
Time appeared to have been catching up with Tom Hogan’s globetrotting nine-year-old until he popped up at 20/1 when making most of the running in very testing conditions to claim the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh on Irish Guineas weekend.
Thanks to that Group Two victory, he is saddled with 10st, the only penalised runner in this Group Three, and must concede weight all round, including 15lb to the three-year-old Psychedelic Funk, who beat all bar Caravaggio in the Lacken Stakes at Naas four weeks ago.
Richard Fahey has opted to bring his good sprinter Don’t Touch over for his return to action and a first crack at seven furlongs. He is joined on the trip across the Irish Sea by the David O’Meara-trained Firmament, whose recent York second behind Golden Stunner was a pretty solid effort.
I’m still inclined, though, to favour fellow Yorkshire traveller Don’t Touch, ahead of Gordon Lord Byron on a Curragh clash last season at levels in the Greenlands where Flight Risk was in front of both.
Rain-affected conditions ruled Rock In Peace out of an engagement here last week but the ground should be more to his liking in the one mile three-year-old handicap.
Ger Lyons’ progressive gelding takes on a clutch of similarly smart prospects, not least the Michael Halford duo of Zinat and Allography, last-start winners Vocal Response and Jon Ess, and Auckland, who was second at this track seven days ago when beaten a length-and-three-quarters lengths by Hyperdrive and left untouched by the assessor.
Jon Ess was upped 9lb for a Dundalk win over Hailstone last month and Pat Smullen renews that partnership. He might be good enough to progress further here over Auckland.
The latter’s handler Aidan O’Brien takes the wraps off a well-related newcomer in Battle Of Jericho in the opening six-furlong two-year-old maiden where he tackles another debutant with an eyecatching pedigree in the shape of Jim Bolger’s Dawn Delivers. From the first crop of Dawn Approach, she could be his first winner.
The top trainers saddle Old Time Waltz and Panstarr respectively in the mile fillies’ maiden but both have had their chances and perhaps Europium and the returning Petticoat bring better form into the race, along with Dilmun and Belle Boyd in this 12-runner contest.
Zenyatta’s brother De Coronado represents O’Brien in the 10-furlong Rated race. He might take beating but I’d rather side with Rummaging in this unappealing contest where the conditions state: “For four-year -olds only which at entry are rated 75 or less (also open to horses rated 76-85).”
Unbeaten bumper performer Fugi Mountain, together with useful chasers Mr Fiftyone (rated 138) and Powersbomb (134), are just a trio of a handful of above average National Hunt performers to line up in the one-mile-seven-furlongs amateur riders’ Flat maiden.
Willie Mullins won three bumpers with Fugi Mountain in the summer of 2015 but the seven-year-old hasn’t been seen since. He might be able to demonstrate his class here.