2.00 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Maiden 1m 2f 75yds
Spartan Army can get off the mark. Joseph O’Brien’s colt ran well enough on his seasonal debut to finish third at Sligo, just beaten by A Shin Undine, who looks his main rival today. He was giving away race fitness on that occasion and considering there was little between them, he can gain the upper hand now, while he also has a tongue-tie on to extract further improvement.
A Shin Undine has finished second on his last two starts and can run well again for Fozzy Stack, while Andy Oliver’s filly Regally Blonde could well build upon her debut ninth at the Curragh earlier this month.
SELECTION: SPARTAN ARMY
Next best: A Shin Undine
2.35 Barclay Communications Handicap 1m 2f 75yds
Onameridance is taken to build on a decent handicap debut when fifth at Killarney. She started slowly that day and met a little traffic when trying to make her run in the straight, before running on strongly despite hanging left. That mile contest has worked out very well and Joseph O’Brien’s filly steps up in trip now, which could well bring out further improvement. She is lightly-raced generally, so has plenty more to give.
Highland King was well backed for his handicap debut and found only I Have A Voice too good. He’s similarly lightly raced and looks a big threat, with cheekpieces added. Chaos Control is also noted as he has been running to a good standard in better handicaps than this and he now looks a threat off top weight.
Next best: Highland King
3.10 Mount Charles Handicap 1m 2f 75yds
Prime Chief returns to defend his title in this race and can do so for Jarlath Fahey. The seven-year-old races off a 13lb-higher mark compared to 12 months ago but showed on his previous two starts in October, hitting the frame at Naas and Killarney, that he can be competitive off his current assessment. He comes here for his seasonal debut, just as he did last year, so this has probably been the plan.
There are lots of dangers, perhaps none more so than All Class, who has won over hurdles and over fences since her last run on the flat. She is worth monitoring in the betting this morning, while John McConnell’s Fennor Cross is noted as well, having won three of his last four starts, the latest on his seasonal debut.
SELECTION: PRIME CHIEF
Next best: All Class
3.45 BoyleSports Irish EBF Ulster Oaks Fillies Handicap 1m 2f 75yds
Eclat De Lumiere is taken in this valuable fillies handicap. It’s probable her connections had classic aspirations for her at the beginning of the season but she was well held in Group 3 Blue Wind at Naas and it was a case of back to the drawing board then. She has ran once since, finishing second to Voice Of Angels over a mile at Navan and on the face of it, that wasn’t a bad effort at all considering she was badly treated at the weights with the winner.
She is clearly well bred as a daughter of Sea The Stars out a dam who has produced stacks of winners, and the return to this longer trip should suit her well. The other thing to note is that her yard may be beginning to hit a bit of form, having sent out two winners this week.
Supagirl is an obvious contender. She saw off today’s rival Simply Gorgeous at Leopardstown before running a big race from the front again in the Royal County Handicap at Navan last time, her brave run only receding late in the final furlong. This is probably slightly easier and she can go close again, though stall 10 does her no favours.
The consistent Coill Na Sionainne can also go well; she has finished second on four of her previous five starts.
SELECTION: ECLAT DE LUMIERE
Next best: Supagirl
4.25 BoyleSports Ulster Derby 1m 4f 175yds
It’s hard to put a strong case forward in a race full of unexposed three-year-olds.
Shajak looks to have as strong a chance as any of them after his defeat of My Mate Mozzie in a all age handicap at Tipperary last time, however his earlier form at Navan could be the key to this race. On that occassion he finished one place behind Cougar in fourth, and Aidan O’Brien’s runner has significant weight swing now, all of 8lbs. That Navan race has worked out well also, with Newfoundland running respectably off a mark of 90 in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot on Thursday. The winner Vega Magnifico is engaged in the Irish Derby next weekend also.
Cougar was sent off favourite that day, ahead of Newfoundland, illustrating a degree of stable confidence, and earlier he showed good form to finish second to Glory Daze at the Curragh. There is a reasonable chance he could be better than the mark of 84 he races off today.
Enthrallment is probably the next most interesting contender. He was second to Glory Daze as well, in a Leopardstown handicap, and he ran well again at the Dublin track on his latest effort, finishing third to Yashin after he lost a shoe in running. That’s good form, and he has been gelded since, so that could bring about improvement.
Next best: Enthrallment
5.05 Value Cabs Handicap 1m 4f 175yds
You couldn’t call Wild Shot unexposed given he has had 72 starts on the flat, but he looks potentially very well treated coming off back-to-back hurdles wins. John McConnell’s gelding has won at Downpatrick and Tramore to elevate his hurdles mark to 124, and runs off a flat rating of just 57 today, which is also 3lbs lower than his last winning assessment on the level.
It’s a similar angle with Loudest Whisper, though not as pronounced. She ran a big race to finish second in a three-mile handicap hurdle at Punchestown on her latest start and now returns to the flat to run off a mark of 50. If she can translate the level she ran to over hurdles, she has a decent chance.
Storm Steps is another to consider after his Fairyhouse win, though he competes off 5lb higher now.
SELECTION: WILD SHOT
Next best: Loudest Whisper
5.40 Watch Racing TV With Free Trial Now Maiden 1m 4f 175yds
Busselton is an interesting proposition on the flat. Joseph O’Brien’s five-year-old has reached a very respectable level over jumps and was last seen finishing a creditable second in a Grade B handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival. This is a different discipline of course but if he transfer over half of his ability, he should go close.
Dancila is the most obvious option elsewhere. Jim Bolger’s gelding has gradually improved on his last three starts, the most recent of which he ended up finishing second at Fairyhouse, and this could be the softest opposition he has faced.
Next best: Dancila