There was no luck on Sunday at the Curragh, with my three selections failing to cause a major impact. Overall, it has been a topsy-turvy June, and I feel very blessed to be in a position where I am going to come out of the month in profit, despite a desperate start. As there has been a lack of Irish National Hunt racing in recent days, selections have been more at a premium – but I have a few fancies from the competitive card at Stratford tomorrow, alongside a selection from the nightcap at Roscommon.
Starting off at Stratford, where my eyes first cast over the 6.00 Handicap Chase over 2m1f. There is a perfect eight in the line-up, which is a dream for each-way punters. This looks like a competitive race with plenty in there with a chance. Blazer, who was formerly a smart handicapper for Willie Mullins, is as big as 18/1 with some firms, which gives you an indication of how tight the race is. Those that know me well will know that I am a massive fan of Course and Distance form, and that has drawn me to Atlantic Storm – who returns to his favourite course. He has won over this C&D, and is off a very competitive mark of 112. He has been in good form so far this season and he quite clearly saves his best for this track, having been placed here on multiple other occasions. At a best price of 7/1 with Bet365 with 3 Places, I think he is a very attractive Each Way bet.
Those that have followed on this page will know that during my poor start to the month of June, I was finding a lot of horses hitting the goal post and finishing in the frame and not winning. One of those was Butte Montana, for Fergal O’Brien and Paddy Brennan – who runs in the 7.30 at Stratford. He ran a very encouraging race when finishing second at Uttoxeter to Chasamax. He travelled into that race sweetly and was not knocked around when his chance was gone. He jumped a lot more fluently than he had in the past and made it look like a maiden hurdle win should be within reach very soon. He has the exciting San Fermin to deal with here, but that means we’re getting a backable price for Fergal’s horse. At a best price of 13/8 with William Hill, I’ll be hoping he can go one better than last time.
Hopefully we may have found an opening in those two races at Stratford, but we will turn to Roscommon for the third and final selection of the day. The Roscommon card looks very tricky overall and I would be very wary about trying to get involved in some of the earlier races on the card. They finish off with a middle distance maiden over 1m4f, where a lot of jumps horses are making their flat debuts. I’m not a massive fan of horses going back from jumps to the flat as an angle, so I will be staying away from the likes of JoeswayornoWay and Scalor in this. Instead, the regally bred Florence Camille, has obviously been very hard to get right for the master trainer, Dermot Weld. After a terrific performance on her debut as a two year old, she has halted in progression the last twice. One could argue that she will not find a better opportunity to win a maiden in her career though, as bar the favourite, Ballinlough Gale, there is a massive lack of depth. 3/1 with Bet365 is a short enough price for a sketchy profile, but it’s just about tempting enough for me to have a flutter.