IT’S A GREAT DAY FOR THE IRISH: Shamrock analyses two top races today, one on the Flat at Cork, where there is a turn-out of top owners for the Group-3 prize, and one over jumps, the Connacht National, at Roscommon.
FORECAST RAIN A WORRY FOR PUNTERS: The damper is forecast rain, only showers at Cork but volumes of the stuff at Roscommon. A downpour on the existing firm surface could make the going tricky for punters.
ASCOT MONEY FROM OPPOSING THE FAVOURITES: Shamrock’s answer is to bet with the draw at Cork and lay the favourites in the featured handicap, where the stats are so strong he expects to make his Ascot money.
CORK: Race of the day at Cork is the Group-3 Noblesse Stakes, with Ballydoyle four-handed and Dermot Weld trying for a hat-trick after back-to-back wins by Grace O’Malley.
I can’t recall seeing, with so few runners, such an array of multi-millionaire owners, as line up here with different horses: the Aga Khan, Derrick Smith, Moyglare Stud, Michael Tabor and the wives of the illustrious, the ladies Bolger, O’Brien and Magnier.
There will be more money in the parade ring than in the bookies’ ring for sure. Cork is suddenly a mini-Ascot, but who will take away the betting money for the week ahead? I’m hoping to make mine in an earlier race.
The Weld contender in the Noblesse today (4.10), Sense Of Purpose, has had one win in two runs back but looks held on her Listed and Group form figures so far: 2002420.
The difference is evident in the figures for Banimpire at Listed and Group level this year (31110) and that zero is, in fact, a fair enough run in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
The score is 5-3 to three-year-olds over four-year-olds, the rest nowhere, but the English raider, Polly’s Mark, is a consistent sort, if obviously exposed.
Of Ballydoyle’s quartet, Amazing Beauty was last in the Musidora, Eirnin and Why have already been well held by Banimpire, but Gemstone could improve for rain.
For me, the danger to Banimpire must be Mesariya: I jumped on the John Oxx filly’s bandwagon when impressed with her winning debut at Leopardstown and she can be forgiven her ‘bounce’ last time.
The new Listed sprint (3.35) has only eight runners so the draw shouldn’t matter all that much, but stalls position could decide the six-furlong handicap (3.05).
The winners since 2007 have come from stalls 10, 13 and 14, with 13 and 14 also second; only one stall below eight has figured in the frame.
It all adds up to a bonus for Amour Fou in her bid for back-to-back wins on the Cork course inside a month. The ground will probably come right for her but is she the same filly over an extra furlong?
She again has the beating of Translator (though blinkers could help that Choisir filly) but Wrekin Rock (four lengths behind Sing Softly as a juvenile on soft ground) could be transformed by the forecast rain, and Catalpa Sail by the reapplication of blinkers.
Measured Approval’s form is in and out (0101) – it’s his turn for a ‘duck egg’ – and both he and Edenshaw seem to be drawn on the wrong side. They’re claiming off Maundays Bay but the drop in trip could help her regain her form from a decent draw.
I’m going to oppose those favourites drawn below eight (Edenshaw and Measured Approval), take Amour Fou as my main choice but have an each-way bet on Wrekin Rock, with Pat Smullen booked, in anticipation of rain.
Inxile (3.35) returns to the track where he gave a stone and more to the three-year-olds in the Cork Stakes in April and has most to fear from Blue Dahlia, out of the frame only once in eight starts over the past year, and Tiddliwinks, who came over to the Curragh and ran as though he would be effective at this trip; his winning form is on AW but, as a Piccolo, rain might help this latest turf venture.
Another dropped to the minimum is Glor Na Mara, one of the highest rated maidens in training, placed twice at Group-1 level as a juvenile, and now tongue-tied in an attempt to find the answer to him.
ROSCOMMON: It’s a rare time of year to have a National but here’s the Connacht National (4.50) to revive all our memories of the jumps season. This time, whereas Cork expects showers, heavy rain is forecast for Roscommon.
What better from my long-range position, not knowing the ground conditions, to pick a horse which has won on the course, scored over the distance in a Point, and has form from good-to-firm to yielding, though I’m not sure how Information would cope with soft.
Information (holds Another Ambition) won the big chase here at the May meeting and has been placed off the higher mark since. Trainer Jim Brennan gives him only a ‘shout’ and reckons he prefers it ‘on the quick side’, so I’d better find a soft-ground alternative and have two running for me.
Montero (Galway Plate target) and Barna Bay will need the run; Prince Of Fire and Campbonais have plenty on at the weights, but Model County Lass, a winner on good-to-firm and heavy, has a featherweight and is an each-way price.
NAP: Inxile (3.35 Cork)
NEXT BEST: Banimpire (4.10 Cork)
LAY: Edenshaw and Measured Approval (3.05 Cork)
OUTSIDERS and EACH WAY: Amour Fou and Wrekin Rock (3.05 Cork), Blue Dahlia (3.35 Cork), Mesariya (4.10 Cork), Information and Model County Lass (4.50 Roscommon)
DAQ TRIO: Inxile (3.35 Cork), Banimpire (4.10 Cork) and Alpine Eagle (5.25 Roscommon)