THE NAP IS BACK IN FORM: We told Shamrock yesterday: time for a new sequence! The man who landed 10 naps out of 16 at the end of June duly obliged with his best bet, Dawariya (WON 6-4), at Leopardstown. What’s he on today?
RARE LAYS AT CORK AND GOWRAN: Shamrock doesn’t often lay horses. When he does, they lose; he wins. Look out for one or more at each of the Irish evening meetings at Gowran Park and Cork.
52.0 OUTSIDER WITH SMART STABLE: One of the smarter stables when it comes to Cork has a 52.0 outsider in with a chance, blinkered for the first time. Shamrock’s just had a spate of big-odds wins and places so he’s game for more.
I’m good at picking losers! Even when I think they’re winners, you say. No, come on now, I’m working for you: like, did you notice the two hugely out-of-sorts trainers who have favourites on the cards tonight?
Granted Bubbly Belllini (6.05 Gowran Park) ran well at Fairyhouse last time but she’s never won on turf, and Ado McGuinness – he runs three in the race – hasn’t had a winner since I had snow on my boots.
Well, almost. He’s had 73 runners in the last 105 days without scoring, and I think the race is between the well-drawn pair, Sunset Beauty and Beauthea.
‘Shark’ Hanlon’s yard isn’t doing too badly. But at Cork? I usually cross him straight off the card: I hope it’s not my felt-tip that ruins your chances, John, but you haven’t had a Cork winner for more than four years – and 52 runners – since the days when banks leant you money and you smiled as you went into one.
So my second lay is Clondaw Warrior (8.55): with a penalty for winning a poor bumper, he will have it all to do against Willie Mullins and Katie Walsh (Earls Quarter) and my fancy, Saint Gervais, with Derek O’Connor on a highly-regarded sort.
Middle leg of my lays hat-trick is Back of The Pack (6.45). Favourites seldom win this, I was going to say ‘never’ but that’s tempting the fairies.
Colin Kidd has an excellent record here and Back of The Pack is 38lb lower over hurdles than over fences. But that did nothing for her at Punchestown and, when she last won over fences, Colin said: ‘The return to fences helped her regain her form.’
In fact, she hasn’t won over hurdles for two-and-a-half years and there’s a progressive type in the race, Brega Queen, with Robbie Colgan up for Patrick Downey. Then there’s Some Gem, who’s just hit form for Ruby Walsh; and 21 others could get in the way.
Ruby should already be off the mark with Won In The Dark (6.15), placed behind Big Buck’s and Quevega, so could probably win this in the dark. Nap.
Yes, I know it’s a short price, but you’re going to start the meeting with whopping great odds: Conor O’Dwyer is two out of two in the maiden (5.45) and seems to mean business with first-time blinkers on Foolish But Fun, 52.0 on Betdaq this morning. An old punt each way.
NAP: Won In The Dark (6.15 Cork)
NEXT BEST: Sunset Beauty (6.05 Gowran Park)
LAYS: Bubbly Bellini (6.05 Gowran Park), Back Of The Pack (6.45 Cork), Clondaw Warrior (8.55 Cork)
OUTSIDERS: Foolish But Fun (5.45 Cork), Mount Rio (8.25 Cork)
DAQ TRIO: Won In The Dark (6.15 Cork), Sunset Beauty (6.05 Gowran Park) and Saint Gervais (8.55 Cork)