Gospel speaks in Derby
Ghetto Gospel who has won four races in a row, can make it a fifth by taking the Specsavers Ulster Derby at Down Royal today.
Ger Lyons’s colt won at Navan last time out and again will have regular jockey Keegan Laytham in the saddle.
Lyons has a tremendous record at this course having had a treble here two years ago while the stable is in current good form.
That being the case, Ghetto gets a confident vote even though Aidan O’Brien runs Grand Admiral, who was a winner at Dundalk last time.
In addition, Jimmy Murphy runs Northgate to be ridden by Dermot Weld’s number one jockey Pat Smullen, the pair having won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday.
Kevin Prendergast thinks highly of Celtic Dane with Chris Hayes on board and while the pair should go close, it looks to me as if Gospel can give the likeable Meath-based Lyons his first success in this race.
Fairy Flow trained by Joanne Morgan has Smullen in the plate for the second race, the Rainbow Telecom Handicap.
Tomorrow the feature race is the Ulster Oaks and here Weld can add to his great week by taking the prize with Carefree Smile who was fifth at Leopardstown recently and is a good handicapper at this grade.
The obvious danger is Shareen from John Oxx’s yard. He has a great record in this race, especially when it was a non-handicap, but Weld is taken to land this event for the first time.
Watch The Birdie must have a great chance for Prendergast in the Dark Horse Auction Maiden while the same trainer should not be far away in the finale with Frenka.
Meanwhile, there was a quick double success to the three -day meeting for Meath trainer Gordon Elliott.
He took the first two races with Riverscape and Final Day, both ridden by Paul Carberry.
The first race, the Pat O’Hare Bookmakers Mares Novice Hurdle saw Riverscape dot up at her leisure from Patseysister and and Diamond Key.
The winning margin for the favourite was three-and-a-half lengths, but she could have won by a lot more, being eased down on the run-in.
Final Day, a double bumper winner took the Tote Go Racing Maiden Hurdle, also in easy fashion, having five lengths in hand over Only Heather with Bolin Guy a further three-and-a-half lengths back in third.
Elliott said: “It’s a nice start to the meeting. Riverscape has gone close and has been hitting the bar, but on the night, all went well.
“As regards Final Day, he will probably go for a novice hurdle, but it’s great having someone as good as Paul riding both winners.”
Well supported ‘early doors’ the SPs were 5-4 and evens.