Preview cork 18th Jun

Preview cork 18th Jun

The Group Three Munster Oaks is the headline act on a terrific card at Cork at Sunday and Bengala might be able to provide the John Oxx stable with a welcome boost. The daughter of Pivotal made a favourable impression when winning on her Leopardstown debut back in the spring and backed that up with a fine third in Listed company at Navan a couple of weeks later. She appeals as one who could have a good deal more to offer but will need to be smart to get past Glamorous Approach, Jim Bolger’s rejuvenated filly who followed up a handicap victory with a vital black type success at the Curragh last weekend. She is turned out quickly again but is evidently thriving at present and will be feared by all. The Cork Derby is headed by Sikandarabad, representing last year’s winning connections, and he warmed up for this with a staying-on third over 1m2f here last time. He could take some stopping over this longer trip but Le Vagabond still looks feasibly treated in this sphere while the hat-trick seeking Mawaany is progressing fast and is well worth a crack at a decent pot like this. Listed honours are up for the grabs in Midsummer Sprint Stakes and Paul Midgley will be hoping his English raider Monsieur Joe can do the business. Midgley won this race back in 2015 and looks to have most to fear from Yulong Baobei, a classy juvenile last year who is clearly much better than her comeback run would suggest. Racing gets underway with the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at 1:50 and the eye is immediately drawn to Golden Spell, an offspring of dual Tattersalls Gold Cup winner Al Kazeem. It will be fascinating to see how she performs on debut while similar comments apply to progressive sprinter Magic Bear who could prove hard to beat in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap following a thumping victory last time.
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Mark McNiff lands 145/1 treble at Downpatrick

Mark McNiff celebrates his Downpatrick treble ©Healy Racing Photos By Alan Magee Mark McNiff completed a memorable 145/1 treble at Downpatrick as Ashjan stayed on best to land the East Down Hunt Club Handicap Hurdle. The Strandhill trainer was on the mark earlier with the Paddy Kennedy-ridden Atlantic Breaker and Andratx (Andrew Ring), and amateur Steven Kelly took the reins on Ashjan in this 2m1f event. Kelly rode about 20 winners on the pony racing circuit before gaining his only previous winner under rules aboard Angus Milan in a handicap hurdle at Down Royal last year, and was seen to good effect here. The teenager from Draperstown, Co Derry sent the four-year-old gelding to the front off the home bend, and the 7/2 chance kept on well to score by two and three quarter lengths. The runner-up spot went to well-backed 11/4 favourite Shek O Lad, with reserve Island Villa half a length further back in third.
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Going updates

The Group 3 Munster Oaks is the highlight at Cork on Sunday ©Healy Racing Photos By Alan Magee Watering is the order of the day with temperatures set to soar on a busy weekend for Irish racing. Downpatrick hosts a two-day fixture on Saturday and Sunday, and the going at the northern track remains good after further watering overnight. The forecast is for a dry day, and the action gets underway this afternoon at 2pm. The thermometer could hit a high of 24C at Limerick where a Flat meeting takes place at 6pm this evening. The ground has dried out at Greenmount Park and is now officially good. There is also Flat action at Cork on Sunday, with the Group 3 Munster Oaks the highlight on an eight-race card beginning at 1.50pm. Selective watering will be carried out on the round course with the going now good to firm (good in places), while the sprint course is described as good (good to yielding in places).
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