BALLYDOYLE SECOND STRING COULD BE LEOPARDSTOWN STAR: Shamrock concentrates on Leopardstown today, fancying a well-entered-up Ballydoyle unknown which appears to be second string on jockey bookings. His Tramore tip is also unraced (over hurdles).

It’s in the stars that Ballydoyle wins the Leopardstown races. I’m talking about the maidens and I’m angling for a punt on Astrology (6.35), though seemingly the second string in a new mile race.

Aidan O’Brien has won the opener twice in the last three years and Ahimsa (5.35) was favourite in front of Maybe in the Spring at Naas. Her absence since suggests something was wrong that day, and this morning’s favourite, Lady Wingshot, has already been beaten by a Ballydoyle horse (called After).

Astrology is seemingly second string to Mannheim (6.35) but it’s Astrology who is entered up in a plethora of big backend juvenile races, including the National Stakes at home and the Dewhurst and Racing Post Trophy in England.

I want to be on first time at a price, since those entries read like I’m not going to get very big odds in the future, certainly not in a race of today’s substance.

The Desmond Stakes (7.05) has cut up badly, even though only ‘a passing shower’ is expected at Leopardstown. Don’t let them in! That’s my answer.

It doesn’t seem soft enough for Croisultan or firm enough for Moran Gra and Duff. Today’s conditions suited Future Generation and Hujjaylea as they stepped out of handicap company to run second and third in a Group 3 at the Curragh a month ago.

And the big question today is will they suit Emiyna, firm-ground winner over Lolly For Dolly in a similar contest in May and possibly slightly stumped up by that ground since she was found to be sore before the 1,000 Guineas, in which she was fancied nevertheless at an SP of 9-2.

John Oxx’s last runner in this race was a winner and I think the three-year-olds (currently 6-9) likely to prevail, with his Emiyna a tempting odds against this morning over Future Generation.

TRAMORE: I can never back cast-offs. If, for that reason, I discount The Ice Factor (was with Mark Loughnane), Ilissos (Jeremy Noseda, though of course that’s a British import) and Sixty Eight Guns (Ger Lyons), it strengthens my conviction that Noel Meade can win yet another juvenile hurdle with Bleuker (5.25), a decent enough Flat performer.

This is a rare venue for Meade, who is 2-3 on the course. He and Paul Carberry have just managed to get old Muirhead’s head back in front, with the trainer on an astonishing 41% hurdles strike rate (12-29) in the new season. Strength in depth or what!

NAP: Bleuker (5.25 Tramore)
NEXT BEST: Emiyna (7.05 Leopardstown)
OUTSIDER: Astrology (6.35 Leopardstown), Humiliation (8.05 Leopardstown)
DAQ TRIO: Bleuker (5.25 Tramore), Ahimsa (5.35 Leopardstown) and Emiyna (7.05 Leopardstown)