A case of what might have been yesterday at Fairyhouse as my two selections just failed to get the job done. After dictating the race under a brilliant ride from Colin Keane, Offiah was just reeled in close to the winning line to come second. Juyush ran on strongly to finish 5th, but unfortunately we needed him in the top four. No major damage done, and we can move onto today – where there is some cracking flat action from both Newmarket and Leopardstown. Slightly unlike my usual trends, I am willing to fire a fair few bullets at the cards this afternoon and evening.
Starting off with the 1.50 at Newmarket, which sees five go to post in Bahrain Trophy Stakes over 1m5f. I think there is a case of trying to overcomplicate the simple solutions, and I can’t see past Stowell in this contest. This horse came under the attention of the stewards and the public eye when finishing a fast finishing second on debut at Lingfield behind a stablemate. Rab Havlin was not overly animated on the inexperienced horse that time of asking, and he made amends by winning on his second start. However, it was his run in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot which is the chief piece of form being brought into this race. He was perhaps given too much to do from the rear, on a week where few won from closing positions, but finished a good third behind Kemari. The form of that race looks solid with the horse splitting the two, Wordsworth, running well in the Irish Derby next time out. At a best price of 2/1 with Ladbrokes, I make him a strong bet.
I return to the scene of a heartbreaking story in the 2.25 at Newmarket, where I’ll be looking for compensation on the desperately unlucky Project Dante, in the July Stakes. The Bryan Smart trained 2YO finished a close up third in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, when he was checked for a run at an important stage and couldn’t quite reel the leaders in during the final furlong. On the basis of that effort, a step up to 6 furlongs should not be of any inconvenience, and he does look like a well above average 2YO. Project Dante is the best price of 10/3 with Bet365, which I believe is fair and I’ll be backing him to get his first group win of his career.
Attention turns to Leopardstown later in the evening, and I’m going to start with the competitive 6.40 premier handicap, which seems the impressive Baby Zeus reappear here after a taking display on yard debut at the Curragh. It remains to be seen whether he will back that up, so therefore I am going to give him a wide steer at a price of 7/2. The horse in here who seems to be dreadfully overlooked is Tartlette, trained by Shane Crawley. This mare has been campaigned like a proper mare, after some cracking efforts at Dundalk this winter. Her three runs in Group & Listed class so far this season have seen her come out with plenty to show with some battling performances. This ease in grade should obviously suit, and I’m convinced a mark of 96 is not beyond her, with star apprentice Sam Ewing taking five pounds off. At a price of 14/1 with Paddy Power with five places available, I’ll be backing her each way.
We move onto the Group 3 contest at 7.10, which sees two very interesting British Raiders coming over to try and scoop another good prize. I think one of them might be able to, in the form of the penalised Believe in Love for Roger Varian and Ronan Whelan. This filly was ultra progressive last year, when winning three handicaps on the bounce at this staying trip of 1m4f-1m6f. She then stepped up to Group 2 class in the Park Hill at Doncaster, finishing a close third before going on to win a Group 3 contest in Saint Cloud a month later. She lost her action on reappearance, which is a concern, but I am willing to look over that and hope that it was a once off occasion. She is best priced 7/2 with Paddy Power, which I think is a bet.
Finally, we conclude today’s selections with one in the nightcap at Leopardstown, the 1m7f amatuer riders maiden. I am quite intrigued by how I can get an each way price about Decor Irlandais, who has clearly achieved the most of these so far. He is rated 149 over hurdles and this is his first spin on the flat, but I think he may well have the class to go very close. With Noel McParlan taking the ride as usual for Noel Kelly, I can’t imagine they would be wasting a trip down from their Derry base for a poor run. We last saw Decor Irlandais come fourth in the Grade 1 3m event at Aintree, which rates as terrific form back in this sphere. At an industry best price of 11/2 with Bet365 for 3 places, I will back him each way to conclude the evening.