Halford targets Naas glory
Runaway Leopardstown scorer Al Qahwa bids to get what could be a good afternoon for trainer Mick Halford off to a flyer in the opening Birdcatcher Day 18th October Race at Naas on Monday.
The master of Copper Beech Stables sends a nine-strong team to Woodlands Park and his first representative is bound to be a popular selection after opening his account at the second attempt in impressive fashion last month.
Al Qahwa is one of two runners for Godolphin in the six-furlong contest, with the Jim Bolger-trained Mimicking also declared to carry the royal blue silks.
Ger Lyons runs Blood Moon and Birdcage, with David Wachman's Auld Enemy and Edward Lynam's Redstaroverchina completing the six-strong field.
Halford said: "He (Al Qahwa) was impressive in Leopardstown and he's been in good form since.
"It's only a small field, but it looks a very competitive race. Having said that, we'd be expecting a big run from our lad.
"There's a bit of rain around and I'd prefer it if the word firm wasn't in the going description."
There is also some decent prize-money up for grabs in the Kildare Post Rated Race, in which Halford saddles Five Claw.
The son of Jeremy has not been seen in competitive action since finishing second on the Dundalk all-weather in February.
"He's coming back from a break and is a horse we like," said Halford.
"It looks a competitive race, but he's ready for a run and we'll be a lot wiser about him after the race."
Discussing some of his other chances, Halford said: "We run a couple in the two-year-old maiden and the horse Shane (Foley) rides, Dawenkour, we like quite a bit, but he might just improve for the run.
"In the last race we run a filly, Ebayya, that ran just the once last year, running a good race to finish fourth.
"She's ready to start now and she's one we're looking forward to going forward."