O'Brien newcomer starts at Listowel
Published 18/09/2012 | 12:32
Last year's Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Listowel was to prove an informative heat and hopes are high for more of the same on Wednesday.
Twelve months ago the mile event was won by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Athens, whose next run saw him finish third to stablemate David Livingston in the Group Two Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.
Plenty of other fine efforts followed from Athens, who was last seen chasing home smart filly Estimate in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.
Third to Athens was Fatcatinthehat, recently a winner at the Galway Festival, while in sixth was Top Man Michael, four times a winner since, including at Galway, and who looks like making up into a smart young hurdler.
Among two representatives for O'Brien this time around in a nine-runner field is the debutant Magic Spell, a full-brother to the aforementioned David Livingston. Seamie Heffernan takes the ride.
Joining him from Ballydoyle is the Colm O'Donoghue-ridden Renew, who beat just one home in a heavy-ground maiden at Gowran in July.
Promising Killarney second Salhooda, Abu Nayef and Flameseeker all bring solid form to the table, with Ralston Road dropping in class after finishing sixth to First Cornerstone in a Listed race at Tipperary.
On a mixed seven-race card, all eyes in the Listowel Races Supporters Club Lartigue Handicap Hurdle are likely to be on Train Of Thought.
Rated 80 on the Flat, he impressed when making a winning debut over hurdles at Galway and returns to timber after a couple of creditable runs in defeat on the level.
It will be interesting to see how far the Dermot Weld-trained Sadler's Wells gelding, who runs in the familiar colours of Dr Lambe, can go in the winter game. Testing ground should not inconvenience him.