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PAPAL COUNT. 09 February 2015. Mastercraftsman-Singing Bird. Owner-Red & Whites.

Just one look at the breeding will tell you that Papal Count is bred to be far better than what he has shown so far. His dam only raced on six occasions, but achieved a runners up spot in a Group 3 at the Curragh over seven furlongs in heavy ground at three, she achieved an official (Irish) mark of 96. Papal Count's sire is the dual Group 1 winner Mastercraftsman, who won the Irish Guineas in 2009.

Papal Count made his racecourse debut at Lingfield on the turf in May 2018, but ran green, and could only finish down the field in eighth, on what would be his only appearance for the yard of Ralph Beckett. He wouldn't appear again for 11 months, after being gelded, and now in the care of the Richard John O'Brien yard in Ireland. His first two starts as a three year old in April 2019 were both over an extended nine furlongs, where he was down the field on both occasions, but at Limerick on his third start in 18 days, he showed his first worthwhile form when finishing third over a mile. In June at Listowel he made his handicap debut from a mark of 64 (Irish) but was eased from two out, without getting really competitive.At Limerick 15 days later he was stepped up to an extended 11 furlongs, where he stayed on at one pace to be beaten by three lengths into seventh. In a first time visor five days later, and stepped up in trip again,this time to 14 furlongs at Leopardstown, he stayed on at one pace for a four lengths sixth of the 11 runners.His final start for the O'Brien yard was in July at Killarney, now racing over two miles, he weakened over four out to finish tailed off with the jockey reporting that the horse had stopped very quickly.

When Papal Count reappeared in June 2020, he had changed yards, and was now with the Andrew Lynch yard for a jumping campaign. He was tailed off on his maiden hurdle debut at Roscommon, and at Kilbeggan 16 days later, he once again finished well down the field. He was then eighth of the 12 runners at Wexford in August, but now had his jumps handicap mark. Papal Count made his handicap debut from a mark of 85 (Irish) at Down Royal 23 days later but could only manage sixth, beaten by 16 lengths. He was in the process of running his best race yet over jumps at Kilbeggan in September when falling two out, while still appearing to be travelling well in first time cheek pieces. His final start to date was in October at Gowran Park, but after racing prominently, he weakened after two out, to finish a 27 lengths eighth of the 14 starters.

Papal Count has shown on occasions under both codes that he has the ability to win a race, he has never raced on a surface with firm in the description, and some cut appears to suit, he will start out over jumps from a mark of 92.

To keep up to date with all the latest happenings at Oakwood Stables, and Sharp Hill, click on 'NEWS' at www.mickyhammondracing.

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