Irish Raiders Have Newcastle In Their Sights

Championship News

12 April 2022

Four Irish-trained entries are on course for Finals Day, April 15, with Joseph O’Brien, Ado McGuinness and David Marnane all set to be represented.


Irish-trained winners have not been as forthcoming as their French counterparts, with Tracey Collins’ 2016 All-Weather Mile Championships victor Captain Joy the sole Good Friday success from 14 runners. 


McGuinness is hoping Harry’s Bar can improve on his sixth-placed finish in last season’s Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships, when he was drawn widest of all in stall 12. 


Having raced four times on turf at Meydan earlier this year, Harry’s Bar notched his 11th win on the All-Weather with a classy display under top weight in a five-furlong handicap at Dundalk on March 23.


McGuinness said: “You would have to say that Harry’s Bar favours the All-Weather and it was great to see him back in that sort of form at Dundalk the other week.


“He disappointed us a little in Dubai, although he did run well over seven furlongs one night, but I think everything about the race at Newcastle should really suit him. 


“The straight course there takes a bit of getting and he will enjoy it if they go hard and come back to him. I can see him running a big race.”  


Both of Joseph O’Brien’s entries will make the trip to Newcastle, with San Andreas going in the £150,000 All-Weather Mile Championships and Grandmaster Flash in the £150,000 Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships. 


San Andreas finished third in a valuable race in Qatar on his penultimate start before comfortably justifying odds-on status at Dundalk on March 11, while Grandmaster Flash was second at the same track in February.


O’Brien said: “We have been very happy with San Andreas through the winter and he comes into this on the back of a good win at Dundalk. He looks as though he should be competitive on ratings and we are hoping that he can run into a place.


“Grandmaster Flash is in good shape but has a little bit to find with some of the principals. He enjoys the All-Weather and there are not many opportunities for him over here, so hopefully he can run well.”


Ireland will be double handed in the All-Weather Mile Championships, with Freescape lining up for Marnane after coming home eighth in the G1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan in March.


Freescape won twice at Dundalk in the run up to Christmas and finished a creditable fourth behind Lord Glitters on his first start this year in the G2 Singspiel Stakes at Meydan in February.


Marnane said: “Freescape came back from Dubai really well and the plan all winter has been to take him to Newcastle.


“We were pleased with his first run in Dubai behind Lord Glitters and then it did not pan out for him in the G1 – he hit the gates almost too well and ended up getting no cover, but it was not a bad run by any means. 


“He has run well at Newcastle before in the Burradon Stakes behind Gronkowski, although even that day we felt he didn’t help himself by being too keen. 


“If they go a good gallop on Friday, he should give a good account of himself.” 

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