Irish Eyes: Icon Sunday best
Our Irish Eyes column previews Sunday's card at Gowran Park where Dessie Hughes' hot-streak is set to continue.
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Gowran Park host the racing action on All-Ireland final day and unless you are one of the lucky 82,500 people to have Croke Park tickets, you have no excuse not to go racing at Gowran, where the match will be shown live on numerous screens throughout the track.
Dessie Hughes has his string in tremendous form, despite the fact that he is currently recuperating following an operation, and four winners from his last 12 runners bear testament to that fact, with another two having finished third.
Consequently his Indian Icon should take plenty of beating in the penultimate contest on the card today. Since winning his maiden on just his second start at Roscommon, Indian Icon has run with credit in three handicaps, despite not always settling in his races.
He finished second over a mile in Galway where he stayed on to beat subsequent winner Capitol Hill, to whom he gave more than a stone on the day. He stayed on again over a mile at Killarney last month so today's trip should prove right up his alley. He is very well treated at the weights, has the assistance of the excellent Ronan Whelan (who still claims three pounds) and he has a good draw. This is his day.
Scintillula has a great chance in the day's feature race, the Group Three Denny Crodell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes.
The selection runs in the colours of the joint-sponsor of this race, Miss Kirsten Rausing of Lanwades Stud. Scintillula comes out clear best at the ratings but while she is capable of putting in the odd shocker, that can be excused given this is her tenth start of the year! Her last two runs however have shown her in a very good light.
At York, she ran a cracker in the Group One Yorkshire Oaks where she led until headed at the ten furlong marker and failing to see out the mile and a half. Nevertheless, she still managed fourth behind subsequent Irish Champion Stakes winner The Fugue.
On her next start, she ran a respectable sixth back over a more suitable ten furlongs in the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown where she was beaten just over six lengths.
Dropping down to Group Three company today, she has a bad draw on the face of it, but given there are just the seven runners, it should not be an issue. If she holds her form, Scintillula should take this contest and she looks value at the current 3/1.
High Net Worth ran a very close second at Down Royal last week on his first start since joining Gordon Elliott's stable, who have had three winners from their last six runners. There is a worry that he will bounce given he was coming off a nine-month break and he reappears here a mere eight days later. On balance however, he gets the vote in this contest.
The opening two-year-old maiden often throws up a decent animal and just last year was won by Trading Leather who went on to take the Irish Derby.
His trainer Jim Bolger introduces an unraced juvenile named Mandatario who has reputably been working very nicely at home.
Bolger's old pupil Aidan O'Brien also unveils a talking horse in the shape of a full brother to last week's Ladbrokes St. Leger winner Leading Light.
Abushamah will test them both following his decent debut at Leopardsown so this maiden promises to continue its proud tradition of throwing up top horses. Whilst not necessarily a race to get involved with, it is one to watch.