FORMER Hambleton inmate The Grey Gatsby has his second start for Dermot Weld in the ICON Meld Stakes at Leopardstown tonight (8pm).
Winner of the French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes for Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan in 2014, the six-year-old has not won since and is wearing a visor for the first time on Thursday evening. He made a satisfactory first outing for Weld when fourth behind Johannes Vermeer in a Group Three at the Curragh earlier this month and jockey Pat Smullen expects him to take a step forward.
“He ran a good race the last day, we felt,” said Smullen.
“He travelled into the race nicely and just got a bit tired in the closing stages, as he was entitled to with it being his first run for a while.
“You’d hope he’d improve a good bit for that and he should be there or thereabouts I think.
“He’s wearing a visor for the first time. That’s not to suggest he’s ungenuine or anything at all, it’s just that he’s a six-year-old entire and at this stage of his life, they might just help him concentrate his mind that little bit more, keep his mind on the job. If he recaptures anything like his old form you’d like to think he might be hard to beat.”
Aidan O’Brien runs Deauville, a Grade One winner in America and a fine third to Ribchester in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot last time out.
Ger Lyons is doubly represented by the admirable Brendan Brackan and Tennessee Wildcat and Jim Bolger’s Moonlight Magic completes the five-runner field.
n Ascot Stakes second Endless Acres will be given a midsummer break before being readied for a shot at the Betfred Cesarewitch.
Trainer Charlie Fellowes said: “Whatever he achieves this year is a bonus and he will be so much better next year. We will aim him at the Cesarewitch, then probably call it a day for the season. Hopefully next year he will be a stakes-class horse.”
PONTEFRACT: 6.30 Birdette, 7.00 Itsalonglongroad, 7.35 Powerallied, 8.05 Destroyer, 8.35 Sir Gnet (treble), 9.05 Mr Orange.
NEWBURY: 1.40 Ode To Autumn, 2.10 Stage Magic (next best), 2.40 It’s Not Unusual, 3.15 Sure To Explore, 3.50 MADELINE (NAP), 4.25 Aurora Gray, 4.55 Sheikspear, 5.25 Champagne Bob.
HAYDOCK: 1.50 African Friend, 2.20 Warton, 2.55 Merlin, 3.30 Snookered, 4.05 Dark Pearl, 4.35 Sharja Bridge, 5.05 Outback Blue.
NOTTINGHAM: 2.00 Picture No Sound, 2.30 Shania Says, 3.05 Agnethe, 3.40 Shamsaya, 4.15 Mahabba, 4.45 See The Master, 5.15 Beverley Bullet.
NEWMARKET: 5.35 Trulee Scrumptious, 6.10 Forest Dragon, 6.40 Turning Gold, 7.10 Ornate, 7.45 Raven’s Lady, 8.15 Pretty Asset, 8.45 Robbie Roo Roo.
HAMILTON: 5.45 Ingleby Angel, 6.20 Clubbable, 6.50 Hee Haw, 7.20 Six Strings, 7.55 Defoe, 8.25 Regal Mirage, 8.55 Amy Blair.