SHAMROCK LAYS THE LOSING FAVOURITE: Shamrock laid the Irish Oaks paper favourite, Dancing Rain, yesterday but not much else went right and he’s keen to pick up the thread of his winning naps sequence today at Ballinrobe.
She’s the unsung heroine: Though Blue Bunting got up close home in the Irish Oaks yesterday, more credit piles up on Jim Bolger’s Banimpire, beaten a short head.
She’s won five races this year, stepping up from a hat-trick of Group-3s (the Ballysax, the Blue Wind and the Noblesse) up to Group-2 in the Ribblesdale and so nearly a Group-1 yesterday. Tough as teak doesn’t tell it all. A great credit to Gentleman Jim.
6.20 Ballinrobe: It’s tough at the top, neck and neck for winners in the apprentice table between Ben Curtis (23 wins), Joseph O’Brien (22) and Shane Foley (21).
Their winning totals compare very favourably with the leading English apprentices who have 33, 27 and 24 from the many more race meetings available to them in UK, where their series sponsors include Betdaq.
Derrinstown Stud do a marvellous job in Ireland, and get support on the track from such as Patrick Flynn, who has won this race three times in seven years
Joseph O’Brien teamed up with Flynn last year and scored on Binocular. Today the partnership gives Mister Music Man his first race in a handicap at the age of seven. Playdate looks the obvious threat.
Newmarket Story’s performance in this would be a guide to Golan Go’s chance in the next. But, until I know better, I shall go for Priors Gold.
6.50 Ballinrobe: You’d think this was another boys’ race – they’re claiming off five of the eight declared – and Shane Foley won it last year. But again I take a first-time handicapper, Priors Gold, whose hurdles form this year is 02331123.
8.50 Ballinrobe: A conditional of a different weight and discipline is Bryan Cooper, trainer Tom Cooper’s son, and yet another product of the pony circuit.
Bryan had a winner and a second from two rides at Tipperary yesterday and could continue in top form through Leah Claire, whose second to hat-trick scorer Bondage on the Flat suggests she’s improved enough to take this modest maiden hurdle.
NAP: Priors Gold (6.50 Ballinrobe)
NEXT BEST: Leah Claire (8.50 Ballinrobe)
OUTSIDER: The Gnathologist (8.20 Ballinrobe)
DAQ TRIO: Mister Music Man (6.20 Ballinrobe), Priors Gold (6.50 Ballinrobe), Leah Claire (8.50 Ballinrobe)