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Great White Shark ready to strike at Down Royal

 

High hopes: Colin Keane
High hopes: Colin Keane

By Ron McKnight

The flat season gets underway at Down Royal this evening with champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins and champion flat jockey Colin Keane combining in the feature EBF Fillies Handicap with Great White Shark.

The selection, winner of her last two starts for Mullins including three miles over hurdles, was a dual winner on the flat for trainer James Fanshaw at Doncaster but is likely to be tested by Stormy Tale and Bianca Minola, the likely favourite.

Joseph O'Brien is doubly represented in the opening two year old fillies maiden with Tinkerbells Effect possibly the pick while Lisard Zara looks next best on form.

Isabeau, Aqueliga and Angelic Queen are the debutants to note.

Black Martini, Olay Power, Emily Grace and Wild Bob Cat could be the quartet to focus on in the two year old sprint while the Gordon Elliott-trained Cozy Sky is first reserve and has claims if getting into the race.

Polly Douglas, following a runner-up finish in a 26 runner contest at the Curragh over six furlongs, reverts to five in the Apprentice Handicap Sprint.

Abstraction, trained at Scarva by Natalia Lupini, was a high class sprinter in his prime and - along with Dapper Power and Idalia - supplies the danger.

O'Brien could double up on the night with Shakespear'sgalley in the mile and a half handicap - the selection a winner on his penultimate start at Killarney.

Alcatraz and Adnap - on his handicap debut - appear the threats.

The Kaizen Handicap looks the most competitive race on the card. The top trio - Mourivani, A Wave Of The Sea and Laethanta Saoire - have solid claims, being recent winners, while Aneczka, trained at Donaghadee by Claire Cannon, was a surprise 33/1 winner at Dundalk earlier this month.

Make The Switch and Smart Living hold most appeal in the finale with Latoyah Of North and Minnie Haha having place claims.

√Frankellina can emerge triumphant from what appears to be an open edition of the Investec Oaks at Epsom today.

William Haggas' filly is one of 14 contenders for Classic honours, and you could easily make a case for half the field without too much trouble.

However, Frankellina makes plenty of appeal at reasonable odds - as a filly with seemingly bucketloads of potential, judged on her recent Musidora run. Lining up at York having won her only juvenile outing, Frankellina completely fluffed the start to give a couple of lengths' advantage to her rivals - a mistake which proved crucial, given the thrilling three-way photo finish that followed.

Frankellina dead-heated for second, beaten just a neck by Nausha, while looking more than ready for a switch up in distance from 10 furlongs.

Today's mile-and-a-half test should be right up her street - and while her inexperience is a bit of a question mark, she certainly has the ability to make her presence felt.

Old Persian can ensure Godolphin commands a share of the spotlight on the Downs as he tackles the Investec Coronation Cup. He has to find a good chunk of distance with Kew Gardens and Lah Ti Dar, who were well ahead in last year's St Leger, but Old Persian has undoubtedly thrived for dropping back in trip in Dubai over the winter.

After a narrow success on his Meydan bow, Old Persian was a cosy winner of the Sheema Classic when last seen - taking on some very decent Japanese performers.

He also managed a Royal Ascot win last year, and beat subsequent Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter, so he has plenty in the book to recommend him.

Angel's Hideaway will surely take all the beating in the Investec Surrey Stakes as she drops to Listed level.

She was beaten just a length and a half in fourth in the 1000 Guineas, and winner Hermosa has since added the Irish equivalent to her crown - so it looks very good form indeed.

Arigato was too keen on his racecourse return and is worth another chance in the Investec Mile Handicap because he is proven around the Epsom track.

Away from the Downs, Andrew Balding can strike gold with Strict Tempo in the British EBF Premier Fillies' Handicap at Carlisle.

SELECTIONS

DOWN ROYAL: 5.25 Tinkerbells Effect, 5.55 Wild Bob Cat, 6.25 Polly Douglas, 6.55 Shakespear'sgalley, 7.25 Great White Shark, 7.55 Laethanta Saoire, 8.25 Make The Switch

CARLISLE: 1.10 Dubai Station, 1.40 Sapphire Jubilee, 2.15 Pinarella, 2.50 Strict Tempo, 3.25 Grey Mist, 4.00 Ticklish, 4.45 Camile, 5.20 Glaceon.

CHELMSFORD: 6.10 Murhib, 6.40 Archdeacon, 7.10 Grey Spirit, 7.40 Rio Ronaldo, 8.10 Johnny Reb, 8.40 Maygold, 9.10 Magicinthemaking.

DONCASTER: 6.00 Ambient, 6.30 Better Than Ever, 7.00 Whelans Way, 7.30 Diocles Of Rome, 8.00 Dizzy G, 8.30 Little India, 9.00 Lincoln Tale.

EPSOM: 2.00 Pinatubo, 2.35 Arigato, 3.00 Old Persian, 3.45 Lorelina, 4.30 FRANKELLINA (NAP), 5.15 Angel's Hideaway, 5.50 War Glory.

STRATFORD: 5.45 Earth Leader, 6.20 Bletchley Castle, 6.50 Law Of Gold, 7.20 Meldrum Lad, 7.50 Wonderful Charm, 8.20 Road To Riches, 8.50 Classic Ruler.

TRAMORE: 5.35 The Artful Roger, 6.05 Canadian Steel, 6.35 Dubai Rock, 7.05 Presenting Point, 7.35 Razoul, 8.05 Colenso, 8.35 Rocket Lad.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.50 Perfect Swiss, 2.25 Pocket Warrior, 3.00 Rail Dancer, 3.35 Pike Corner Cross, 4.10 Turanga Leela, 4.55 Sea Sculpture, 5.30 Tha'ir.

DOUBLE: Frankellina and Angel's Hideaway.

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