Sophia Could Star With Hood Removed At Fairyhouse

Boris Boru was in the process of running a big race for us at Navan and he was bang in contention when taking a heavy fall at the fourth last. Olive D’haguenet was alongside him at the time and ended up in 2nd with very few of the hold up horses getting involved. It is impossible to know for sure, but I think Boris Boru would have placed at least if he had stayed on his feet. He is one to watch out for at Down Royal or Downpatrick this Winter.

Jack Kennedy is back on board Tsarina Sophia.

There still hasn’t been enough rain in these parts to change the underfoot conditions and the ground looks likely be good at Fairyhouse on Wednesday, though there is some rain forecast. I like one at a huge price in the closing 20f handicap at 3.35 and I reckon Tsarina Sophia could surprise with a big run with Jack Kennedy booked and the hood removed for the first time.

This 6yo daughter of Soviet Star has yet to trouble the judge after seven starts under rules, but she definitely showed a modicum of ability on two of her last three starts for Diarmuid Ryan. Interestingly, her best effort came on the only occasion she was ridden by Jack Kennedy at Tramore and she shaped well enough to finish 7th of 13, her effort petering out in the final furlong.

Kennedy was struggling to hold her up at the back of the field in the early stages and she looked keen to get on with things. He was determined to keep her out the back though, and as they came to the third last hurdle she wasn’t far off the leaders at all. Her early exertions took their toll late on, and while she was 23L behind the winner at the finish, it was a much better run than it looked.

The same applies to her penultimate start at Wexford when Darragh O’Keefe was on board for her handicap debut. She was dropped back to 2 miles and finished 8th beaten 20L off her opening mark of 85, but again she ran better than her finishing position and distance beaten suggests. It looked to me like she wasn’t in love with the hood, and it was the same story at Clonmel last time when she almost refused to race before being brought down early.

This mare is bred to be a whole lot better than her current rating of just 83. She has had four siblings make the track and three have won, including Joanne One who was a Listed bumper and dual hurdle winner that achieved an official rating of 123. Her half bother Kylestyle was a useful performer on his day and her dam is a half-sister to Snap Tie and also a half-sister to the dam of promising sorts Spider Web and Runfordave.

I think the removal of the hood for the first time could help to improve Tsarina Sophia’s jumping and the return of Jack Kennedy to the saddle looks significant. Good or yielding ground should be just fine for this mare, as should the trip, and if her mishap last time at Clonmel (no fault of her own) hasn’t knocked her confidence I think Tsarina Sophia is worth chancing for small stakes each way at odds of 33/1.


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