Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Oliver’s eyes are on Ascot

Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver is heading to Ascot on Saturday after his Group-placed filly Connie Mac got off the mark over six furlongs at Dundalk on Sunday.

Ridden by Chris Hayes, she formed part of a daily double for the Caledon man.

He followed up with Lucid Moment under Declan McDonagh , getting the better of the front-running Dreams Forever.

Connie Mac who finished third int he Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and occupied the same position at the Curragh, is an intended runner in the Cornwallis Stakes back at Ascot this weekend.

"She ran a blinder at Royal Ascot in June but was below her best at the Curragh. However, she ran well on Sunday and I am hopeful she will retain her form for Saturday"

The Dundalk double was not the first achieved by Oliver. Last year at the Down Royal September meeting at Down Royal, Oliver was successful on the Friday and the Saturday.

His two winners were Mica's Island and Johnny Angel.

Meanwhile a decision on whether Zarkava stays in training will be taken later in the week following her sensational victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

While the Longchamp showpiece was definitely her last race of the season, whether she stays in training or heads off to the breeding sheds has still to be decided.

"We have finished with her for this year. I spoke with His Highness (Aga Khan) and we do not have to rush into a decision about her career, whether she races at four or goes off to stud," said trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.

"We will make a decision in four or five days because it is a big decision to make. We have to respect the filly and there is not much left for her to do. You can't ask them to do too much in their lives."

Despite her racing career being up in the air, VC Bet have installed Zarkava as their 2-1 favourite for next year's Arc.

"There is little doubt that she is a super filly and dispelled any negatives concerning her prep race," said spokesman Neal Wilkins.

"We went bottom price after that success, 6-4 from 3-1, and we were totally vindicated.”

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