Grey Waters spearheads O'Brien's Lingfield raiding party
Joseph O’Brien’s record at Lingfield is one winner from one runner, and he will be bidding for more glory at the Surrey track when he runs four fillies on Wednesday.
The County Kilkenny-based trainer's quartet is led by Grey Waters in the Betway Stayers Handicap (2.15).
The four-year-old – the youngest horse in the eight-runner contest – made no mistake last time he was in Britain when scoring at Kempton in November, and has since run well in a Grade 2 hurdle back home.
"Grey Waters is a consistent and tough little filly who ran well in a Grade 2 juvenile hurdle over Christmas at Leopardstown," said her trainer.
"Oisin [Murphy] rides her and he knows her well as he won on her at Kempton in November, which was her latest run on the Flat."
Two of the trainer's raiders face each other in the fillies' maiden (3.55) that closes the card, and O'Brien added: "Aibell and Dream Point also ran against each other in a Dundalk maiden in December. They both ran well on that occasion and we're hoping for a good showing from them again."
First up in the opening maiden handicap (1.10) is Highly Approved, and O'Brien said: "She seems to be stepping up her game with every run. She doesn’t have a great draw but she’s in good form and we’re hoping she can run well."
Birth's journey to finals day
The feature race on Kempton's seven-race card is the £25,000 32Red Conditions Stakes (6.15), where Royal Birth starts out on a return path to all-weather finals day. However, he has the worst of the draw, just as he did when finishing fourth at Chelmsford last Thursday.
Although he is officially rated on a par with rival Donjuan Triumphant and just 3lb shy of Mythmaker, Royal Birth also has a 3lb penalty to shoulder for winning a Listed contest at Lingfield nearly a year ago.
Trainer Stuart Williams said: "Royal Birth could never really land a blow at Chelmsford as he was drawn wide and could never get near the front.
"He's got the same box again but hopefully can get over, and he goes there in good shape. Hopefully we can run him on all-weather finals day again as he stumbled coming out of the stalls last year and his chance had gone."
Top-rated is Mythmaker, who might have been a good thing for this if the race were staged at Lingfield.
Trainer Bryan Smart said: "It's his first run at Kempton, which is a bit of an unknown, and I just hope it rides okay as he's a fast-ground horse.
"He ran a cracker when third from a bad draw at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day and that contest was like a Group race."
Sir Hamilton's follow-up bid
Denis Quinn trains behind a Chinese takeaway just off Newmarket High Street and is hoping to tuck into some decent prize-money at Kempton, where his sole runner is Sir Hamilton in division two of the novice stakes (5.15).
The three-year-old is the only penalised runner in the 12-strong contest on account of his success in a mile maiden at Chelmsford last month, when he was not unfancied when scoring at 12-1 under Luke Morris, who is again on board.
Before that Sir Hamilton went off at 200-1 on his debut in a maiden at Newmarket in November, when he outran his price to finish a close seventh to the useful Maghaweer.
Will Dunlop's AW run continue?
Ed Dunlop has scored with three of his last four all-weather runners and may not be finished just yet with a host of fancied entries this week, including Colourful Career in the 1m3f handicap (5.45) at Kempton.
The son of More Than Ready appeared suited to stepping up to this trip when scoring for the first time under Adam Kirby at Lingfield over Christmas and has the same rider's services.
After watching Colourful Career prepare for his latest engagement on the Warren Hill Polytrack on Tuesday, Dunlop said of his all-weather team: "They seem to be in a good place right now and let's hope it continues as most of them are in the February sales.
"Colourful Career seems to have come out of his race in great shape and hopefully there's more to come."
Marking punters' cards, he added: "On Thursday we have King Kevin running at Chelmsford, who also seems to be in good shape considering he ran only last Wednesday. Hopefully we can keep our recent good run going."
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