Donnacha's time to shine
It's the end of the flat season at Naas this afternoon, and following his brother's heroics yesterday, Donnacha O'Brien will deservedly have his turn in the limelight as he is set to be crowned champion jockey for a second time.
Iridessa's memorable success in the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf secured a third win in three different countries for the Joseph O'Brien after Downdraft and A Wave of the Sea had struck at Flemington and Down Royal respectively, and Donnacha himself kept things ticking over with a double for his father on a rare foray to Chelmsford.
His prolonged battle with former champ Colin Keane has provided a welcome bit of interest in the final throes of the 2019 campaign, and maybe there's a hint of recogntion for his chief rival in Aidan and the Coolmore partners jocking him up on outsider Invitation in the Listed Finale Stakes at 15:45!
Whether Donnacha will fancy a crack at the hat-trick next year, with all the sacrifices that go with it for someone of his height, is a moot point but one man who certainly shows no sign of slowing down is Kevin Prendergast and the Curragh handler can have the final say with Nan Yehi in the maiden which draws proceedings to a close.
There's encouragement about her
Numerically, it hasn't been the greatest of years for the remarkable octogenarian but with the news that stable star Madhmoon will stay in training next year there is still plenty to look forward to, and though this Camelot filly is nowhere near that level she looks well up to landing a race of this nature.
A daughter of another former Friarstown luminary Rebelline, whose finest hour came on what proved to be her swansong in the 2002 Tattersalls Gold Cup, she showed potential on her first couple of starts over a mile before a highly creditable fifth at Navan over 1m2f in June.
The first three home in that race are now rated 97, 103 and 92 but it wasn't until last month that Nan Yehi got the opportunity to return to the track herself, and though ultimately no match for runaway scorer Lady Stormborn (who runs in the Finale Stakes today) in that Leopardtown event there was plenty to like about her effort.
For starters, it proved her ability to handle testing conditions - which after heavy rain prompted a morning inspection are a certainty today - and the way she finished off backed up the encouragement to be taken from her pedigree that going a bit further could well be a plus.
It's interesting that Prendergast is persevering in maiden company rather than going for a handicap off a potentially attractive mark of 72, and with the cobwebs hopefully blown away now following that autumn layoff everything looks in place for a bold showing. Jockey Gary Halpin himself made a timely return to the number one when partnering Guiding to victory at Dundalk on Friday and this is anything but a strong contest.