Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Funkenstein fancied to continue his progression up the ranks

Jockey Johnny Murtagh

Ger Lyon's' stylish Curragh winner Dr Funkenstein is fancied to continue his progression up the ranks by taking what is an intriguing Tipper Road Race at Naas tonight.

Just five runners go to post for the 10-furlong conditions heat that brings proceedings to a close at the Kildare venue, but it promises to be immensely informative.

Johnny Murtagh rides Willie Mullins' Levanto, a filly whose winning Curragh handicap form off a mark of 84 has been franked by the short-head second, Zarkiyr, subsequently scoring.

Cardinal Palace and Teoirim, second and third to Zarkiyr at Tipperary, both won next time, while the Curragh fifth, Mourani, has also broken its maiden since.

On paper, that is an endorsement none of the other four contenders can match, but more is expected of Dr Funkenstein after he delivered what was expected of him at headquarters two weeks ago.

On that occasion, the good-looking Excellent Art gelding came a couple of lengths clear of One True Love, which then won a Gowran Park maiden before just failing to collect off a mark of 80 at Roscommon on Monday.

Given that Dr Funkenstein must concede 5lb to Levanto here, he will obviously need to improve on that again.

However, with the step up in trip from a mile likely to suit, Gary Carroll's only booked ride on the card is expected to do so.

In the preceding apprentices race, Waver could uphold the extended Levanto form for Aidan and Ana O'Brien.

Fourth in Zarkiyr's Tipperary race under an aggressive front-running ride, the choicely bred Ballydoyle colt will have plenty on here against his elders, but a first-time rating of 80 – or an effective figure of 69 when you factor in the 11lb allowance for three-year-olds – must give him a live chance.

The two-furlong drop in trip from a mile and a half could also be critical.

In the fillies maiden, Violet Hour is napped for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen.

Pastiches, which had One True Love back in third when second at Ballinrobe recently, is a real threat, but the twice-raced Moyglare Stud-owned selection may be less exposed.

Third at Leopardstown last time, Violet Hour's form has been complimented by the winner Scintillula going on to be placed in Listed company, and the third, Belle De Crecy, hacking up at Roscommon. If she steps up on that, she is the one to beat.

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