Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Marnane to end O'Brien run

Winning feeling: David Marnane can triumph tonight with Elleval

Aidan O'Brien relies on Hanky Panky and Snow Queen to maintain his Vincent O'Brien Ruby Stakes stranglehold on leg one of Killarney's four-day August Festival this evening.

Since the €40,000 Listed race was last held at Tralee in 2007, O'Brien has won each of the subsequent editions, one at Dundalk and four at this glorious Kerry venue.

He has secured the last three with representatives from the Classic generation and his bid to land a sixth successive triumph in the nine-furlong contest, named in honour of his Ballydoyle predecessor and namesake, also centres on three-year-olds.

However, Hanky Panky and Snow Queen have both been desperately disappointing this term, and David Marnane's Elleval appeals as a solid option to bring O'Brien's hegemony to an end.

Royal Blue Star, Captain Joy, Beyond Thankful and the improving runaway Naas winner Wannabe Better are all decent contenders as well.

If Elleval performs, though, he could prove formidable for Fergal Lynch. A consistent sort that got to within a length-and-a-half of Ballydoyle's Lines Of Battle when second in a Meydan Group Two last March, he ran another blinder to be fifth to the stable's Count Of Limonade on his June return in the Curragh's Celebration Stakes.

Granted, Elleval then ran flat in a Leopardstown Group Three, but that isn't an accurate reflection of his ability.

On the assumption that Marnane will have got him back to fever pitch, he appeals as nap material now.

The Tipperary handler might double up with Maal in the Diarmuid Cronin Electrical Handicap.

Having won off a high of 79 in his prime, the 10-year-old is thrown in off 54 under Connor King after a back-to-form second to Mamma Rose recently.

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