Baraweez back at his happiest hunting ground for Ellison and Lee
Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Ahonoora' Handicap | 7f, 3yo+ | ATR
Baraweez is back! We knew he would be. His attendance here was as certain as the Queen appearing on BBC on Christmas Day.
For the third year on the trot Baraweez will try to take the €100,000 Sunday showpiece at Ballybrit. He won it in 2014 and again in 2015. Last year stall 14 prevented him from completing the hat-trick as he had to settle for fifth behind stablemate Dream Walker, who swooped late to score under an audacious ride from Chris Hayes.
The schedule stays the same for Baraweez. First he shows up in the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap on Tuesday and, win, lose or draw there, he returns on Sunday for this. It has been that way for the last three years. He will be very familiar in his surroundings.
Willie Mullins is a magician and his latest trick is turning Riven Light from a 2m hurdler into a winning miler. Dropping down markedly in trip proved a masterstroke on Tuesday as Declan McDonogh cut through the pack up the home straight and went on to beat Hibou by a length and a half.
Riven Light has a 7lb penalty now and is dropping back a furlong and a half so it will take a big effort from both horse and rider to record a second win in a week.
What they say
Willie Mullins, trainer of Riven Light
He had a tough race on Tuesday and had to be brave to win the big mile handicap. He's down another furlong and a half here, which isn't ideal, and neither is the draw in stall 15, but we simply had to have a go when a big pot like this was on offer. The rain is a bonus though, he'll like the ease in the ground.
Damian English, trainer of Geological
He missed the break and then pulled very hard on Tuesday. Hopefully he jumps out quicker and goes forward, like he usually does. If he breaks better he'll show his true colours.
Sheila Lavery, trainer of Sevenleft and Secret Wizard
The testing ground would be a massive worry with Sevenleft. Secret Wizard basically didn't have a race in the big mile race the last day. He was drawn wide and never got into it. This will be more his cup of tea and he's in great form.
Denis Hogan, trainer of Tithonus
He's in very good nick and we've managed to get a brilliant draw in stall one. I'd be a little worried about the soft ground for him over this trip, though, and there's a lot of early pace around him. It won't be easy but he has a big heart and he'll try his heart out. He's done us proud this season.
Brian Ellison, trainer of Baraweez, Dream Walker and Stipulate
I'd say Baraweez is probably the best of my three. He's finally got a good draw and the run the other night would have taken the freshness out of him. He's proven time and time again he's better on his second appearance during Galway. I'd like it to stop raining though. Stipulate missed the break the other night and then didn't get much luck in running. Those two are drawn four and five, which is great. The draw is immaterial for Dream Walker really as he'll be dropped out and played late; that's the way he won the race last year.
Andy Slattery, trainer of Branch Line
He's in mighty form but I'm very worried about the ground for him as he's only a three-year-old. He's a nice horse for the future.
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