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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Three things to watch out for as Lyons filly puts unbeaten record on the line

Ger Lyons: is represented by Espere at Gowran Park on Wednesday evening
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Espere looks especially good

The manner in which Espere took care of more experienced rivals at Killarney earlier this month stamped her as a filly with a future, and she puts her unbeaten record on the line in the Ladies Day June 23rd Fillies Rated Race (7.30). 

The daughter of Elusive Pimpernel, who is a half-sister to several winners, looked good at Killarney but Shane Lyons, assistant trainer to his brother Ger, seems to think there is a lot more to come from Espere.

"Espere is very game and we've always liked her. It was an ideal race and we thought it would've taken a nice horse to give her 9lb. She'll come on a ton for that," said Lyons in the aftermath of the two-length success over the 74-rated House Call. 

Espere's chief threat could prove to be the 84-rated New To Town, who remains a maiden after seven starts but has been placed five times and brings solid form to the table. 

Weld maiden can Clique into gear

Clique might only have a five next to her name on the racecard for the concluding 7f Gowran Park Fillies Maiden (9.00) but it would be foolish not to delve deeper into that piece of form.

A daughter of Bated Breath, closely related to Sir Michael Stoute's former Winter Derby winner Convey, Clique was supported into favouritism for a hot fillies' maiden over this trip during Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown. 

Clique may have failed to live up to market expectations there, beaten six and three-quarter lengths, but the contest could hardly have worked out any better. 

The winner, Lightening Quick, has subsequently won a Group 3 and is rated 101 after finishing sixth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, while runner-up Bye Bye Baby is also a Group 3 winner and is now rated 109.

Horses from Dermot Weld's yard start their canter up the Old Vic all-weather gallop

Who's Steph, only ninth and some way adrift of Clique, won both 1,000 Guineas Trials at Leopardstown and is rated 104 following her seventh-placed finish in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. It was a maiden with substance. 

Speaking in his Racing Post stable tour last month, Weld said of Clique: "I ran her in a strong maiden on Irish Champions Weekend first time out. That provided good experience, but she has to win a maiden first and then we'll see where she fits in. Like the rest of our 2017 two-year-olds, we haven't rushed her."

Another for Richard O'Brien?

Richard O'Brien has been one of the success stories of the Irish Flat season so far with seven winners to his name and he has developed the canny knack of improving handicappers acquired from Britain.

Alans Pride was rated 52 after he arrived from Michael Dods. He now has a mark of 78.

The ex-Roger Charlton-trained Maths Prize is now rated 90 after starting with O'Brien off 82 and Bianca Minola, who was formerly trained by David Menuisier, has soared to 82 from an initial rating of 65 when arriving in Ireland. 

Captain Cat (left): winning at Lingfield on Good Friday in 2015 under James Doyle

Captain Cat has his second start for O'Brien in the Thomastown Handicap (6.25), having only managed to beat one home in the Irish Lincoln on his Irish debut in March. 

His finest hour arrived on Good Friday in 2014 in the Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield when he swooped late down the outside to beat Highland Knight by a length and a quarter. 

Rated 115 in 2014, Captain Cat is now down to a mark of 89 and could be another winner for the O'Brien team.

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Espere is very game and we've always liked her
E.W. Terms
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