The €100,000 Tote Rockingham Handicap takes place on Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby weekend at the Curragh and Andrew Slattery aims to win the race for a second year in a row with Sors.
The Tote Rockingham Handicap is the first of three races sponsored by the Tote at the Curragh this season, next up is the Tote Scurry Handicap on Darley Irish Oaks Day, 15th July and the Tote Irish Cambridgeshire takes place on Sunday 27th August.
A total of 39 entries have been received for the valuable five-furlong sprint to take place at the Curragh on Sunday July 2nd with 16 British-trained runners included at the early entry stage.
Andrew Slattery’s Sors was the first Irish-trained winner in four years and is entered in this year’s renewal.
“He’s in great form, he’s had a few runs, and this has been his aim all year we hope we get a good draw, that’s it. Killian Leonard rides him – we booked him a while ago, he will be well in at the weights. He’s rated 94 and he’ll be 11 pounds better off than last year with Kilian’s claim. Killian rode him last year so it was always in the plan that he would ride him for the Tote Rockingham again this year.” Slattery said.
“He wasn’t beaten far in the Bold Lad this year off of 94, he was third in it. I think he was probably a bit unlucky that day, there was a strong headwind that day and he was in front he probably had the blunt of it.”
The race could also be the next target for Darren Bunyan’s stable star, Hit The Bid. Hit The Bid won the Group 3 Curragh Stakes last season and returned to winning ways at Cork on Sundaywhen claiming the Listed Midsummer Sprint Stakes and Bunyan is so far pleased with how the three-year-old has taken that victory.
“We’ll have a look at the Rockingham and see but it is a very, very nice pot and it would be hard not to go there if the ground was right.” Bunyan said.
“The ground is very important to the horse and if it was softer than good in the description we would probably have to look elsewhere but he is very fresh and well in himself since Sunday and he was out in his paddock bucking and kicking this morning.
“We know he acts at the Curragh which is a bonus and it was good to see him getting his head in front again on Sunday. A few things just didn’t go right for him on a few of his runs but he was still only beaten six-lengths in France the last day and that was a good run. The handicapper has put him up to 105 now and the plan is to step him up in grade but if the ground is right, the horse is right, there’s a good chance that the Rockingham will be the right race for him.”
Curragh specialist Rattling Jewel may bid to give trainer Nicole McKenna the biggest win of her career when looking to bring up a hat-trick at the Curragh this season and trainer Paul Midgley, who saddled Desert Law to be third in the Rockingham last year, is responsible for four of the 16 British-trained entries with Desert Law joined on the list by stable companions Elysian Flyer, Line Of Reason and Naggers.
Ireland’s sprint king, Eddie Lynam has included Magic Bear and Miss Power, while Aidan O’Brien could be represented by Alphabet or Cenotaph.
Link to entries: http://bit.ly/2sOutbl