Ado McGuinness stable reaching for the stars on Irish Champions Weekend

Aussie Valentine and Master Speaker primed for major handicap action

  • Friday 14 September
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Ado McGuinness is on course to have his best ever year and the yard is hoping to strike it rich with two bargain purchases in premier handicaps on Irish Champions Weekend.

Both Master Speaker (11,000 euro) and Aussie Valentine (12,000 guineas) have proven astute buys by Shamrock Thoroughbreds at the sales last autumn.

Master Speaker has won twice in the colours of Shamrock Thoroughbreds, set up by McGuinness’ assistant, Stephen Thorne, while Aussie Valentine, subsequently bought by long-standing patron Gary Devlin, has also picked up two races this summer.

The pair have also proven consistent in premier handicaps this season and Thorne is hopeful one of them might hit the big time in 150,000 euro prizes this weekend.

Master Speaker runs in the Irish Stallion Farms EBG ‘Sovereign Path’ Handicap at Leopardstown on Saturday, while Aussie Valentine takes his chance in the ‘Northfields’ Handicap at the Curragh on Sunday.

Thorne said: “Master Speaker was probably one of the horses to take out of the (Irish) Cambridgeshire the last day as they went no gallop and him and Katiymann, who finished second, came from the rear with strong runs.

“The race didn’t set up great for him, but he ran really well. The handicapper hasn’t been overly kind as he’s been on the same mark all season, but he’s been running with credit. He’s been very consistent.

“We’re hoping for a big run this weekend. I think pace is key with a hold-up horse and you want them to go an even gallop from start to finish.

“Obviously with Irish races you don’t get that too often, only really in big handicaps and I think those type of races suit him well.

“Colin (Keane) was the first man to ring up looking for the ride on Tuesday and he was keen to get on the horse.”

Aussie Valentine steps back up to 10 furlongs having won over that trip at Leopardstown back in June.

Thorne said: “Obviously the plan with him was the (Irish) Lincoln at the start of the year and he ran really well.

“The whole way through the season he’s held his form really well. The two rated races he won gave him confidence and he was only beat on the line in the Nasrullah at Leopardstown.

“He ran a cracker in Galway as well in the Mile, if you took Riven Light out he’s leading the field 50 yards before the line.

“He on a mark he can be competitive off. It will be a tough race, but we’re hoping for a big run.

“When you look back through his old form you’d say soft ground was the key to him, but he’s really enjoyed himself no matter what ground it’s been on this year.

“We were planning to go to the Cambridgeshire with him, but had to pull him out on the day with a temperature.

“He’s been placed in a premier handicap at the Curragh before over the 10 furlongs and he should get it well.

“If you were in the UK you’d struggle to get into these type of races with a 90 horse. It’s a massive opportunity for these horses, where they are rated, for the prize-money on offer.

“Both horses are fully exposed, but we are just hoping the door might open for one of them weekend.”

He added: “We’re having a great season and I’d say we’re punching well above our weight as there are only nine trainers with more Flat winners in this calendar year.

“It’s all credit to the great team of staff we have that are working very hard to make it all happen.”

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