Massayan chases hat-trick as Weld colt bids to enhance reputation
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Two horses at very different stages of their careers clash in the most valuable event of the evening at Tipperary.
There is Massayan, jam-packed full of potential having won two of his three starts as a three-year-old. Then there is Inis Meain. The old boy, who put trainer Denis Hogan on the map, is having the 48th outing of his career.
Massayan has not been rushed by Dermot Weld and this looks the ideal place for him to begin his four-year-old career. He boasts a rating of 93 and this could well be his last appearance away from stakes company.
Inis Meain is now ten years of age and Hogan admits that his best days are behind him, but there is still life in the old boy and any rain that falls will be in his favour.
Hogan said: "Inis Meain is in good nick. At ten years of age he is not getting any quicker and the trip is a bit tight for him now but there is rain on the way and that will suit him. I am just hoping that the small field might help his confidence."
There are many unknown quantities in the line-up, none more so than Markhan who won twice in 2016 but his two tame displays in 2017 have left a lot to be desired and David Marnane has been doing a lot of head-scratching.
"We have been very disappointed with Markhan's first two runs of the year. He was very progressive last year and we were hoping that he would continue that progress as a four-year-old but it hasn't happened yet.
"This looks an ideal race for him and the track, trip and ground will all suit. I suppose you could call this a fact-finding mission to see where we stand with him," Marnane said.
Like Massayan, Onlyhuman looks a promising four-year-old who could have more to offer this season. He made it second time lucky in a Gowran Park maiden where he appeared to relished the heavy ground so the forecast rain will be music to Eddie Lynam's ears.
Onlyhuman is rated 84, 9lb inferior to Massayan, but he does receive 8lb from that rival which makes things very interesting.
The quintet is completed by the Jim Bolger-trained Cirin Toinne, who was second to Dragon Fei in the Ulster Oaks at Down Royal on Saturday.