5.25 IRISH STALLION FARMS EUROPEAN BREEDERS FUND MAIDEN 7f
The market will be crucial with several blue-blooded debutants, notably Brontide, a half-brother to recent Irish 1000 Guineas winner Pleascach, and Look Closer, whose dam is a full-sister to Refuse To Bend. Preference at this stage is for the first-named of that duo, who hails from the yard which has won this race twice in the last few years. The one to beat on paper is the Godolphin filly Tonkinese, who was a solid third behind Royal Ascot-bound Air Force Blue at the Curragh on Guineas weekend. The son of Authorized coped well enough with good ground there, but his sire’s stock don’t tend to operate as effectively on fast ground, and any firm in the going description would be a concern on that front. He still sets a very decent standard, however, and is likely to go off favourite.
6.00 RACECOURSE OF THE YEAR MAIDEN 1m
Manitobian looked all over the winner on his belated debut at Roscommon last month, only to be bullied out of it by the more experienced Azzuri. He’ll likely start favourite to make amends, and the outing should have helped make a man of him. He appeals slightly more than Frozen Lake, who was caught in the dying strides at Cork in April, but has already had four runs and may have reached his limit. Monolight was notably green on debut at Navan, but was noted keeping on stoutly in the closing stages, and is another open to plenty of improvement, so merits consideration, but one who is also sure to do better, and is available at huge odds is Athassel, who would have found 6f far too sharp at the Curragh on his racecourse bow. In truth, he’ll need further than a mile in due course, but is bred to relish fast ground, and is out of the smart Canadian racemare Inish Glora, a Grade 2 winner at Woodbine, and the dam of Roan Inish, herself winner of the Woodbine Oaks. Roan Inish was trained by Carolyn Costigan for her father, after starting out for Jim Bolger, for whom Costigan was Assistant for two years until 2009.
The Canadian national has now returned to the land of her birth, and looks capable of making a splash. She’ll be unfamiliar to most, which is largely why the well-bred Athassel is such a big price, and the son of Arch is worth following despite his low-key start.
Selection: Athassel (e/w)
6.30 WILLIAM FRY APPRENTICE HANDICAP 1m 2f
Jack Kennedy is quickly making a name for himself having graduated from the competitive pony-racing circuit, and he’s been in winning action both on the Flat and over timber in the past couple of weeks, riding Funny How to victory at Cork for Pat Flynn before getting the plaudits for a first double over hurdles at Down Royal last week for boss Gordon Elliott. Kennedy rides Ruler of France here for Paddy Twomey, and it’s worth risking the gelding back on his preferred sound surface despite a poor run in the mud at Listowel the other day. The gelded son of Holy Roman Emperor ran well enough at Dundalk prior to that, and is well handicapped on the pick of his form for David Wachman. Twomey has his small Flat team in good form, with his only representative in this sphere placed on both recent starts. Glassatura is another whose best form is on quick going/polytrack, and can give the selection most to do, for all topweight Stronger Than Me is also respected at this level.
Selection: Ruler of France
7.05 SEAMUS & ROSEMARY McGRATH MEMORIAL SAVAL BEG STAKES (Listed) 1m 6f
It’s debatable whether Kingfisher really deserves his lofty rating with his second to Australia in last year’s Irish Derby looking to flatter him, and Donncha O’Brien is unable to utilise his claim. He’s viewed as an Ascot Gold Cup possible by his trainer, but makes limited appeal at short odds, and it would be no surprise to see Sir Ector uphold Vintage Crop Stakes form from last month. Also representing that form line are Panama Hat and Toe The Line, and while that pair were only fifth and last of the eight respectively at the Curragh, both are better than the form suggests, with the former shaping as if in need of the outing, and the latter unsuited by the way the race was run and tenderly handled when her chance had gone. Both are ideally suited by top of the ground, and should be more competitive here. The narrow vote goes to John Kiely’s mare who will get the strong pace she needs courtesy of Sir Ector, Kingfisher and Fog of War, all of whom want the lead.
Selection: Toe The Line (e/w)
Danger: Panama Hat
7.40 KING GEORGE V CUP (Listed) 1m 4f
This is a quick turnaround for Blue Paraiba after her win at Fairyhouse last Thursday, but the daughter of Sea The Stars looks the best prospect in this race, and will be hard to beat if over those exertions. It is notable that her main threat appears to come from Radanpour, who might have been a stablemate of the selection had the Aga Khan not made the decision to move his horses away from John Oxx. The irony of turning the tables on his former patron won’t be lost on Oxx, who nevertheless will let his filly, and not his ego, do the talking. The pair are closely matched, but Radanpor has done
Selection: Blue Paraiba
8.10 RSM FARRELL GRANT SPARKS HANDICAP 1m 7f
Hardstone is progressive on fast ground and polytrack, as he showed when winning again at Dundalk on last month’s reappearance. The son of Birdstone hasn’t reached his limit by any means, and can defy a 6-lb rise at the main expense of Daneking, who appears the pick of a pair from the Willie Mullins yard, both of whom have been jumping since last seen in this sphere.
8.40 TIERONE HANDICAP 1m
Beat The Ballot was well held in the mud at the Curragh last time, but can bounce back here for Pat Smullen and Tracey Collins. Funny How is effectively up ten pounds for winning last time now that Jack Kennedy’s claim has been reduced, and he’s passed over as a result. Chatterton is another last-time-out winner, but his rise in the weights doesn’t look excessive, and he may prove the biggest threat to the selection.
Selection: Beat The Ballot