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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Punting pointers and trainer views on the Irish Cambridgeshire

Firmament represents trainer David O'Meara in the Irish Cambridgeshire on Saturday
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4.00 Curragh
Tote Irish Cambridgeshire (Premier Handicap) | 3yo and up| 1m | ATR


Two-pronged British challenge

First run in 1921, the Irish Cambridgeshire has been won only once by a British-trained runner – Cherrypicker in 1929 – and on Saturday Firmament, representing David O'Meara, and the Mick Appleby-trained Greatest Journey will be attempting to bridge that gap.

O'Meara has booked Declan McDonogh for Firmament, who ran third in a handicap at York last time, while Alistair Rawlinson partners Greatest Journey, whose four wins have all been on the all-weather.

Halford's big team

Twice successful in this race with Quinmaster in 2006 and Hujaylea in 2010, Michael Halford has the biggest team in the 22-strong line-up, with the Godolphin-owned pair Saltonstall and Terzetto, Katiymann and Kerineya all chasing the €59,000 first prize.

Elusive seeking repeat victory

Elusive Time, a 25-1 shot when landing this last year for Curragh-based Tokashi Kodama, returns seeking back-to-back wins with 7lb claimer Yutaro Nonaka, who works for Johnny Murtagh, on board.

Poor record for favourites

No favourite has been successful since Franny Norton scored on Silverware for Pat Hughes in 2000.

What they say

Michael Halford, trainer of Saltonstall, Terzetto, Katiymann and Kerineya
Saltonstall is facing a big ask with top weight, but he's a classy horse on his day and has done well over the course in the past. Things didn't go right at Galway last time and he didn't handle the track. As an improving three-year-old Terzetto has a good profile for the race and she has form over the course. She's been working well and we're very happy with her. Katiymann is older and more exposed. He finished well over seven furlongs last time and going back up in trip should help him. Kerineya is running in her first handicap. Like Terzetto, she's an improving three-year-old and, although she got a bit lost at Listed level last time, she should have benefited from the run. She's been going nicely recently and is capable of a big run.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Lucius Tiberius and Kenya
We decided to drop Lucius Tiberius down in trip after two handicap wins over a mile and a quarter. He seems in good form and we're happy with him. Kenya is coming back from a break and we think dropping to a mile will suit. We're hoping he runs well and that he'll improve from the run.

Mick Appleby, trainer of Greatest Journey
He was a bit unlucky at Chelmsford last time but ran very well. He has never won on turf before but hopefully he'll run well.

Ado McGuinness, trainer of Master Speaker and Aussie Valentine
Master Speaker was due to run at Chelmsford tomorrow [Saturday] but got eliminated so we've redirected him. He's in good form, although the trip is a bit of a concern. However, he finished well over seven furlongs last time and that was encouraging. Claiming 7lb should help. Aussie Valentine is consistent and ran a blinder in the big mile handicap at Galway last time. We're very happy with him and expecting a massive run.

Tom Hogan, trainer of Honor Oak
She's been running consistently well. Hopefully the ground will dry out a bit. She's fresh and well and we're looking forward to a good run.

Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Band Of Outlaws and Medal Of Honour
Both are in good form. Band Of Outlaws is consistent and has won over the course and distance, as has Medal Of Honour, who was a bit disappointing on his last two starts. We're claiming 7lb off him and that should help.

Johnny Murtagh, trainer of Sirjack Thomas and Lethal Power
They're both progressive three-year-olds who have been running consistently well. Both are in good order and it's a big pot. We think they'll be competitive.

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Aussie Valentine is consistent and ran a blinder in the big mile handicap at Galway. We're very happy with him and expecting a massive run
E.W. Terms
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