FAIRYHOUSE AND SLIGO TODAY: Shamrock checks out two Irish cards this afternoon, at Fairyhouse and Sligo. He has a nap at Fairyhouse and two whispers for Sligo.
Let’s test an old Irish racing adage. If a Prendergast horse is a short price, it wins. My own view is that idea came from Paddy Prendergast’s fantastic success with two-year-olds: they’d never be big odds would they.
Yet Paddy senior – it was he who brought Irish racing on to the international scene before Vincent O’Brien – was called ‘Darkie’, or am I reading something into that!
Son Kevin, who has followed in the great family tradition, and had his 2,000th winner as a trainer last season, is certainly not letting the backers down: his last three favourites have been Blue Mimosa (won evens), Catamount (2nd 13-8) and Brazilian Breeze (won 4-11).
Is it coincidence, just as I came across that racing adage about the old man in a coveted book of 1960s trainers, that Kevin has had five out of six in the frame from his last half-dozen runners to have started 5-1 or less.
His 18 wins so far this season is on track for his total of 38 in each of 2009 and 2010. He could do with a few more Rose Bonheurs.
Fairyhouse: Rose Bonheur (3.05) looks a worthy favourite for the Belgrave Listed race, in which Kevin is two out of three, his winners coming in consecutive years, 2007-08. Yes, one of them was hot favourite but the 2008 winner was 14-1.
I think Rose Bonheur, who couldn’t quite get the trip in exalted company in the Guineas, takes after her sire, Danehill Dancer, winner of three Group-1s, one at 6f and two at 7f, as she showed at Naas in May (6f) and June (7f).
If the rains came, Katla and Tracey Collins’ pair, Arctic and Rock Jock, would have to be considered; otherwise, Duff should set them alight early and give Rose Bonheur a good lead (and a vital 6lb).
There is a big word for Hannah’s Smile (2.35), a Lowther Stakes entry for York, and, in the 4.05, where honours are currently even so far between three-year-olds and older horses, Freedom and Sharestan have a mass of Group-race entries.
Freedom has to prove that blinkers will work a second time after winning at The Curragh in first-time blinds so I’m with Sharestan, though, in fact, stablemate Sinntani – a half brother to Sinndar – currently has a higher rating. Interesting to see how Ben Curtis fares on that one, unable to claim, while Joseph O’Brien gets his 3lb for Freedom.
Sligo: I’m told that Ruby Walsh is here for Sulwaan (3.15), useful on the Flat for Mark Johnston, and that Par Five (3.45) is ready now to do the business for J P McManus. He needs the money!
By the way, it’s been a tricky time this morning, writing from the top of the Dublin needle. See yesterday’s column. Or, better still, don’t.
NAP: Rose Bonheur (3.05 Fairyhouse)
NEXT BEST: Sulwaan (3.15 Sligo)
OUTSIDER: Croisultan (3.05 Fairyhouse), Par Five and Silver Reef (3.45 Sligo)
DAQ TRIO: Hannah’s Smile (2.35 Fairyhouse), Rose Bonheur (3.05 Fairyhouse) and Sulwaan (3.15 Sligo)