Fran Berry column ahead of Irish Champions Weekend

Racing
Check out Fran Berry's latest blog ahead of the forthcoming action
Check out Fran Berry's latest blog ahead of the forthcoming action

Danceteria heads to Ireland on Sunday as he bids for a fifth straight handicap success - check out Fran Berry's thoughts on his chances.

It's obviously a massive weekend on both sides of the Irish Sea and it'll be great to play a small part in it when I ride Danceteria in Sunday's Irish Stallion Farms EBF "Northfields" Handicap at the Curragh.

It's been another really good year for David Menuisier and owner Clive Washbourn, with Thundering Blue one of the major success stories, but Danceteria has contributed significantly as well having landed four handicaps on the bounce since his comeback run behind Old Persian at Newmarket back in April.

His next assignment is to head to Ireland and in all likelihood, and with any luck, this is going to be his last run in a handicap.

I missed out on the ride when he completed the four-timer at Newmarket as it was Shergar Cup day at Ascot but he bolted up under Jason Watson and is now up to a mark of 103.

This is a massive prize and it's fantastic to be going there with such a progressive horse - the one thing I would say would be to keep an eye on the draw. I'll be hoping for low to middle as these 10-furlong handicaps around the bend at the Curragh can be quite congested and while it's all down to how it pans out on the day, a wide draw can be a negative.

Roll back to Saturday at Leopardstown and I can't see Roaring Lion being beaten in the Irish Champion Stakes. He was just so impressive at York and although Saxon Warrior got close to him in the Coral-Eclipse the time before, John Gosden's horse looks to be improving rapidly. Oisin Murphy will be happy to be drawn on the outside which should ensure he gets a clear shot at it.

Addeybb is an interesting horse each-way, especially if they get a bit more rain than anticipated, but they may just be playing for second anyway.

As for the William Hill St Leger, I was second in the Galtres Stakes behind Lah Ti Dar and I was so impressed with her. She actually hit a bit of flat spot turning in at York and I personally feel she should be a bit sharper for that run.

The step up in distance should also suit on that basis and I'd expect her to take the world of beating if connections have decided to target this race, rather than go to France. The boys certainly have their work cut out giving her 3lb!

Before all of that, it's Sandown for me on Friday, where I've got five rides for various trainers, which is great.

The pick of the bunch could be Victors Lady first up in the Fly China Southern Handicap for Robert Cowell.

Robert has his string in really good shape at present and this daughter of Society Rock is clearly improving following her Southwell success. An initial handicap mark of 71 gives her a little room to manoeuvre with any luck and she gets a bit of weight from the older horses, which isn't much but clearly a benefit at this time of the year as they're pretty well developed physically by now.

On Saturday I'm riding at Lingfield, where they go on the all-weather and the turf.

Muntanaasib is unexposed and a potential improver for George Peckham in the 188Bet Extra Place Races Handicap, while Dark Profit runs in the Barrier Trials At Lingfield Park Handicap and it looks significant that Keith Dalgleish brings the horse down from Scotland.

My best chance could turn out to be Bamako Du Chatelet in the Best Odds Guaranteed At 188Bet Handicap. He's won here on the Polytrack last December and came back to form when beaten under two lengths on soft ground here late last month.

I've not ridden him yet but am looking forward to the weekend.


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