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Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Lord Erskine in good order as he bids to complete four-timer

Lord Erskine and Pat Smullen winning the John & Terry Moriarty Memorial Handicap
1 of 1

3.00 Naas 
Naas November Handicap | 3yo+ | 1m6f | ATR

Lord Erskine, the mount of Pat Smullen, has been aimed at this race since landing the Irish Cesarewitch at Navan last month, when he was completing a hat-trick.

That victory was the biggest success on the Flat for the four-year-old's trainer Harry Rogers.

Can he make it four in a row under a jockey who has fought valiantly but has had to give best to Colin Keane in this year's title race?

His trainer said on Saturday: "Lord Erskine has gone up 10lb for his Navan win but he's in good order. We'd like to see the ground staying soft instead of drying out."

His task has been helped by the withdrawal of likely favourite Wonder Laish.

Better expected from Vassa

Gustavus Vassa was sent off favourite for the Irish Cesarewitch last month on his first start for Willie Mullins but was never able to get into contention.

Plenty of punters will be hoping to get their money back, and connections were not inclined to put anyone off.

Speaking on Saturday, the trainer's son Patrick said: "Gustavus Vassa was very disappointing at Navan where he raced far too keenly. He's been working very well since and has been very settled in his work.

"We think he's a lot better than he ran at Navan and hopefully he'll show that."

Martin poser

With four runners, trainer Tony Martin mounts the biggest challenge. But which is the one to home in on?

The betting is always a useful starting point and of his quartet, The Graduate, Landsman, Tudor City and Share The Honour, it is Share The Honour who could start the shortest price, generally a 10-1 shot on Saturday afternoon.

He is the mount of Oisin Orr, who leads the apprentices' title race by just one winner from Killian Leonard, who partners Deor.


What the rest say

Joe Murphy, trainer of Swamp Fox
He ran well in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket and we're very happy with him. Trip and ground will suit and I think he has a good each-way chance. However, Charles Byrnes' horse [Wonder Laish] looks very well-in.

John Murphy, trainer of Brazos
He's had only the two runs and won his maiden well at Listowel. The ground shouldn't be an issue. He's strengthened up well and is in great form.

Dermot Weld, trainer of Dalton Highway
He ran a good race at Leopardstown last weekend and is a solid, consistent performer. I'm expecting another good run.

Noel Meade, trainer of She's A Star
She ran quite well at Leopardstown last time considering she didn't jump off well. She's in good form and the longer trip and the ground will suit.

We'd like to see the ground staying soft instead of drying out

Key data

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