Back to the all-weather in Ireland for today’s action with a seven-race card that features a 14-runner (maximum field) two-mile handicap. Gavin Cromwell’s Demophon would be worth a second glance, given he won a handicap hurdle at Down Royal last week, but, at the time of writing, he is second reserve for the race and is unlikely to get a run.
The vote goes to the admirable Sharjah (2.30) who has been beaten a nose in his last couple of starts here for Andrew Slattery including over today’s trip on his penultimate start. Yes, the selection is aged 10 now, has not won since July 2018 and remains vulnerable to unexposed rivals, but he is an eight-time course winner and can race from the same mark as his last couple of starts. There might be one last hurrah in the old boy who is 9/4 from 11/4 with William Hill.
Nightly Wailing ran in the void race here on Friday and he is the only C&D winner in the field. He looks sure to go close, but jockey Andrew Slattery knows the selection well and the hope is that he can dictate his own fractions and make all.
Ger Lyons’ Long Arm is unbeaten in two starts and a 5lbs rise for winning over today’s C&D looks fair given that was a hot handicap with several of the top yards represented. The form has not exactly been franked, however, and he is reluctantly overlooked although it should be noted that he holds a Group entry in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan next month.
Golden Valour has won two of his last three starts and knuckled down well inside the final furlong having threatened to not go through with his effort when first making his challenge two furlongs out. He steps up to a mile-and-a-half for the first time today which is not guaranteed to suit on breeding.
Ex Sir Michael Stoute inmate Indignation has only had three career starts and makes his handicap debut today. The form of his second over today’s C&D is only modest but he is open to further improvement and his opening mark looks fair.
Millswyn (3.00) met trouble in running when a close fourth here last time and would surely have gone close with a clear run. That was his first start on the all-weather and he was certainly more at home on the surface than has been the case on soft ground this winter over timber. At the time of writing Joseph O’Brien’s four-year-old does not have a jockey booked, but his second to Halimi at Galway back in July is very good form. He gets the each way vote at 10/1 with boylesports.
The mile Maiden is a cracker with Jim Bolger’s Agitare (3.30) getting a narrow vote ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s Tiger Moth. The selection – 11/10 with William Hill – finished behind a number of O’Brien-trained two-year-old last season including Mogul in a Leopardstown Group 3 back in September.
Tiger Moth, meanwhile, finished third behind a Jim Bolger-trained debutant on his only start at the Curragh back in October over 7f and he looks sure to appreciate the step up to a mile. Both colts hold fancy entries further down the line and it promises to be a most informative race.
Mudlahhim is still an entire and this lightly raced colt can surely find a maiden for his powerful connections soon if not today as I will be disappointed if Strongbowe (4.00) does not run a very big race for Paddy Twomey and Billy Lee. The selection has been gelded since running a terrific race on debut when third over 10f at Cork back in May behind Brogue. He was put in at 11/4 with bet365 which was far too big but has been slashed to a best price 13/8.
The winner did little for the form in the listed Devoy Stakes on Monday, but the Dermot Weld horses all looked badly in need of the run at Naas and I still believe that is very good form with the second now rated over 100.
The form of Gin Blossom’s (4.30) second – beaten odds on favourite – to Lemista at Gowran Park back in October was given a huge boost when the winner landed the Group 3 Park Express Stakes at Naas on Monday. She looks sure to take all the beating for Joseph O’Brien in the valuable Median Auction Maiden. The 11/10 with William Hill earlier in the day was too big and he is now trading a shade of odds on at 5/6.
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