It was a quiet day yesterday as our two selections were quickly reduced into one with Ally Cay being a non-runner. She is still a mare to keep the right side of when she turns up next off this reduced mark. That left all the pressure on Mehnah, who posted a superb effort to win from a very unpromising position in the Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney. She is a very exciting filly for Kevin Prendergast and as I said yesterday when previewing the race, everyone wants this filly to be just as good as she is proving to be. She should be stepping into Group company on her next start with a possible tilt at the Matron Stakes a potential long term option.
We are blessed with good racing in both codes today with some good action at Killarney over jumps and Leopardstown on the flat, I have a couple of selections for both cards. I’ll be starting at Killarney, where I have had bits of success throughout the week so far. The 2.45 is an Adare Manor Handicap Hurdle and looks like it has a potential blot off a good mark. He might be favourite but when weighing up the entirety of his form, Western Cowboy has the potential to be a better horse than a rating of 112 would suggest. After a strong first run behind the talented but quirky, Runrized, he bettered that when finishing second to the very promising Enniskerry on his second start over 2m3f. He got the job done on his third start at Limerick over 2m and now steps into handicap company for the first time. I think a best price of 4/1 with William Hill is generous for this horse, who has the potential to be better than this grade.
Next up at Killarney is the 3.45, which is the second division of the middle distance 80-95 rated horses handicap. As is always the case with races of this nature, there is an element of luck as to which horses will be able to perform on the day. I am going to take a swing at one at a massive price in this race, and hope that she might have a few pounds in hand on some of her form. Goatitagain has obviously not been the most straightforward mare to train for Thomas Coyle, but there has been enough evidence to suggest that a mark of 92 might not be beyond her. Her best effort was this time last year at Kilbeggan, when finishing a very respectable third in a maiden hurdle to Brave Way. She has disappointed in a few runs since then, however, that last effort was ambitious and the time before that was very heavy ground. These should be ideal conditions for a good ground filly and at a massive price of 40/1 with William Hill for 5 places, I’ll take that chance.
My final play from Killarney comes in the 2m handicap hurdle at 4.15, which looks a very competitive race for a decent pot. I have been thinking that Clever Currency has been a well handicapped horse on good ground for a while now and I won’t be deserting him. Despite being an average type on the level, his hurdles form ranks as much superior and after a maiden win at Limerick, I thought he would go well in handicaps. Off a mark of 118, it gives him possibilities in a race such as this. His third at Ballinrobe last time out wason heavy ground, so that can be upgraded and should be more at home on this surface. At a big price of 22/1 with SkyBet with 3 places available, he is another big price each way play.
Moving to Leopardstown, where I have two similar selections in the maidens near the end of the card. The first of these is the 1m1f maiden at 6.30. Plenty of these look exposed to a certain degree, so therefore it is a golden opportunity for one of these horses to shed that maiden tag. I am hoping that the horse might be McPherson, who they may well have just stumbled across on the right trip with him over 9 furlongs. He has run some solid races over 1m on testing ground before being stepped up a half mile last time out. After giving the talented, King of the Castle, plenty to think about for the majority of that race, the weekend out of it late on. This should suit better and at a best price of 5/2 with Paddy Power, I am hoping he can break his duck.
Today’s final selection comes in the 7.05 race at Leopardstown, which is a staying maiden over 1m5f. This involves some nice looking types who all should be winning races in their time. The unraced Drummer Girl, who was a very expensive purchase for Aidan O’Brien, makes her belated debut and over a trip which would indicate the penny has taken a while to drop for. Instead I’ll be going for some solid proven form, and siding with the same connections of McPherson, with Cycladic for Jessie Harrington and Shane Foley. Jessie has had another solid year with her flat string so far, and this filly definitely has the capability of winning a maiden on the basis of her 3 runs so far. She ran a creditable race on her second start in a Listed race last year and was a solid third on reappearance. This step up in trip is unknown but based on her previous efforts, it shouldn’t be an issue. At a best price of 7/2 with Ladbrokes, I’ll take that chance.