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TOUGH TO CATCH FIRE; IRISH RACING; Aidan's ace a class act.

Byline: PETER O'HEHIR

CLASS-DROPPER Courage Under Fire should be very tough to beat in the Irish Stallion Farms Maiden in Naas.

Today's seven-race card caters exclusively for two-year-olds. And the Aidan O'Brien-trained Courage Under Fire looks the class-act on show, having contested the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes on his penultimate start.

Placed previously at Leopardstown and Galway, he made most of the running in the Phoenix before finishing four lengths second to star stablecompanion Caravaggio, which, unfortunately, will not run again this season, due to injury.

In his only subsequent outing, the War Front colt was beaten less than four lengths when fifth to Syphax in the Acomb (Group 3) in York.

Although he would prefer faster ground than he'll encounter here, Courage Under Fire, officially rated 105, looks a cut above his rivals - although once-raced fillies Solar Halo and Ribbons 'N' Roses are threats - and should triumph for Donnacha O'Brien.

Off the track since failing by a half-length to cope with Leo Minor over this course and distance on August 1, the Ger Lyons-trained Noivado, winner of his maiden in Fairyhouse, is preferred to Famous Beauty in the Irish Stallion Farms Auction Race.

And Lyons' once-raced Doctor Geoff, fourth to Firey Speech at this track, might not cope with the Michael Halford-trained Allography which caught the eye on his debut when finishing sixth to Yucatan at the Curragh.

Elsewhere, Aidan O'Brien is responsible for no less than nine of the 17 acceptors, including Capri and Douglas Macarthur, for Sunday's Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh.

He faces a series of decisions on where to go with some of his smart juveniles, which also hold engagements at Newmarket on Friday and Saturday.

There are no English entries for the Beresford. But Charlie Appleby has left a couple of Godolphin-owned fillies, Wuheida and Grecian Light, among 15 acceptors for the Group 3 C.L. & M.F. Weld Park Stakes, also on Sunday's card.

LISTEN DEAR, ridden for Willie Mullins by Ruby Walsh, made a spectacular chasing debut in yesterday's finale in Ballinrobe, the Connacht Tribune Beginners Chase.

In front from the second fence, the 5/6 favourite, a three-time winner over hurdles (including a Grade 3), had her rivals in trouble a long way from home and coasted home an impressive 20 lengths winner from Lucky Pat, Joseph O'Brien saddled a notable one-two in the opening juvenile hurdle as 6/4 favourite Lord Justice, a third winner as a pro for O'Brien's cousin J J Slevin, held stable-companion Zig Zag (Jody McGarvey) by a short head.

And the Tuam Herald Handicap Hurdle produced another family story as favourite Tornado Watch followed-up his recent Downpatrick success for the Fogarty brothers, Jonathan (trainer) and Mikey (jockey).

CAP IN HAND

Capri is one of nine Aidan O'Brien acceptors for the Beresford at the Curragh

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 21, 2016
Words:473
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