NAP IN A DERBY ON OAKS DAY? Shamrock has nap confidence in a Ballydoyle hope today but at a good price in the Ladies Derby not in the Irish Oaks, which is the feature of the afternoon at the Curragh.
GALWAY PLATE TESTS: Tony McCoy is riding at Tipperary in two top tests for the Galway Plate. But Shamrock is cool about them!
2.40 Curragh (Anglesey Stakes): After five in a row, Ballydoyle has lost the last five Angleseys and ‘Gentleman Jim’ Bolger could make it six if Zip Top confirms his Leopardstown success over a subsequent winner.
Through Cheerful Giver, Bolger knows the strength of Boris Grigoriev, who looks the best of Ballydoyle over After and Ishvana (from the family of Islington), who may prove top of the trio in the long-term, since he is bred to come into his own in his second and third seasons.
3.10 Curragh: Older horses are beating the three-year-olds 5-2 but Claiomh Solais and Wild Wind seem well up to Group-3 level if not confident bets.
The one they have to beat is Seta but it’s highly likely that they won’t have to, if there is more rain: Seta has shown all her best form on top of the ground.
I shall side with Claiomh Solais on the grounds that she split Emulous and dual Listed winner Rose Bonheur at Fairyhouse and that was Emulous’ third Group 3, after beating that excellent yardstick, Lolly For Dolly, in May.
3.35 and 5.10 Tipperary: They mean business with Captain Cee Bee (3.35) in the Galway Plate, witness Tony McCoy travelling over today for an attempt at a McManus win in a McManus race as a big-race prelude.
Muirhead can run big when fresh and has the same Galway target, while Edward O’Grady tries a pincer movement with Jumbo Rio and The Real Article.
But I decided after Jack Cool’s unlucky defeat at the Aintree Grand National meeting to bet that he can step up to Graded level, given regular improvement from four to five.
In the Galway Plate Trial itself (5.10), McCoy tests Wickham Street but I’m all for Rayhani, who won plenty for me over hurdles and has been nicely encouraged to jump in chase preps with a boy on board. Now here’s the meaningful stuff, David Casey taking over.
3.45 Curragh (Irish Oaks): A huge gamble on Wonder Of Wonders suggests she’ll do what Ballydoyle Classic horses have been doing all season: run better in the next one.
They knew Epsom would be a problem for her after she proved a tricky ride round the bends of Chester. Today will be much more straightforward and, if she sees off her Epsom Oaks conqueror, Dancing Rain, thanks to a better pace – ironically contributed by Godolphin with Rumh – she may find Laughing Lashes and the game Banimpire giving her most to do.
As a Classic-placed filly, Laughing Lashes is the wrong price at offers of 12.0 this morning, and I shall try for three returns from the race: a win Wonder Of Wonders, each-way Laughing Lashes and a lay on the lucky Epsom winner, Dancing Rain.
4.20 Curragh (Ladies Derby): There’s another ‘Classic’ here today but the class horses, Steps To Freedom, Endless Intrigue and Bondage, are likely to be beaten because this ‘Derby’ is a handicap.
Only one horse has carried more than 10st 1lb to victory in the last decade, and only two have been older than five, though I have respect for the 2009 winner and 2010 runner-up, Taralga.
The stats obviously point to Scottish Boogie and Katie Walsh but three-year-olds have done well in the race (back-to-back wins 2003-4) and father and daughter, Aidan and Sarah O’Brien, can take this for Ballydoyle with the Giants Causeway colt, Nantucket Bay.
NAP: Nantucket Bay (4.20 Curragh)
NEXT BEST: Wonder Of Wonders (3.45 Curragh)
LAY: Dancing Rain (3.45 Curragh)
OUTSIDERS: Jack Cool (3.35 Tipperary), Laughing Lashes (3.45 Curragh)
DAQ TRIO: Claiomh Solais (3.10 Curragh), Nantucket Bay (4.20 Curragh) and Rayhani (5.10 Tipperary)