Racing makes a welcome return in Ireland on Monday June 8th with an eight-race card at Naas, previewed here by our regular pundit, Alan Marron.
NAAS MONDAY FULL CARD PREVIEW
Bar One Racing prices for Naas will appear here
2.55 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF FILLIES MAIDEN
A very interesting maiden to start the card and the Jessica Harrington-trained ROSES BLUE looks the ideal type to further enhance her trainer’s reputation with juvenile fillies.
We have seen the likes of Albigna, Millisle and Valeria Messalini all go through the ranks and it wouldn’t surprise me if this filly was up there too. She has a lofty price tag, 300,000 guineas, and she is a half-sister to Brian The Snail, who has served the Richard Fahey stable extremely well.
This filly in the Moyglare colours looks the one to beat.
3.30 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF (C + G) MAIDEN
The second maiden on the card and the once-raced LIPPIZANER for the Ballydoyle brigade should prove extremely hard to beat.
I have watched his debut run on a number of occasions and I feel that Seamie Heffernan gave him quite a nice educational introduction behind the Jim Bolger-trained Poetic Flare. Lippizaner never shirked the issue in any way at all and, if he can show just normal improvement, one of the unraced juveniles will need to be extremely smart to get passed him.
4.00 CLINTON HIGGINS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS HANDICAP (DIV 1)
For me, this is one of the most interesting races on the card, for one reason alone. GEE REX, who is now in the care of Joseph O’Brien, could be head and shoulders above this field if he can produce any snippets of the form he showed as a juvenile.
He finished eighth in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2018 behind the John Gosden-trained Calyx and plenty of winners have come out of that race.
One of the most interesting form-lines comes from when he finished third in a maiden at The Curragh on August 25 2018. The horse that finished sixth that day was Sovereign, who went on to win the Irish Derby.
Gee Rex has seen his handicap mark plummet in recent times and he returns here off a mark of 72. That mark could really underestimate this horse if Joseph can get him back to any sort of form.
One of the best bets on the day for me.
4.30 CLINTON HIGGINS CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS HANDICAP (DIV II)
For those of you who followed my Trainer Q and A pieces recently you may have seen that Leanne Breen was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions. One of the questions was a horse to follow. Leanne mentioned PARKERS HILL and he makes his reappearance here and looks to have a solid each-way chance in a trappy enough contest.
This horse was formerly trained by Johnny Murtagh and was progressive. The booking of Shane Foley really catches the eye and Shane will be reunited with Parkers Hill after finishing second on him off the same handicap mark back in July.
He looks to be value here and could give a decent account of himself.
5.05 KUROSHIO AT COMPASS STALLIONS COMMITED STAKES (LISTED RACE)
ALLIGATOR ALLEY has appeared in my notebook on a number of occasions and I will give him another chance to prove that he has plenty of ability.
That ability was evident when he finished second in the ‘Molecombe’ at Goodwood last year when he got absolutely no run whatsoever to be beaten by the John Quinn-trained Liberty Beach. He backed that form up by going to York and gaining a deserved victory.
His final run last season was down the field in a juvenile sprint on the Friday of the Breeders’ Cup.
I would expect much more from this horse as a three year old and he could give them plenty to think about here.
5.35 ANGLESY HOSPITAL EQUINE LODGE WOODLANDS LISTED STAKES
One of the big questions on the card will be whether Sceptical can translate his scintillating runs at Dundalk back to the turf. He is likely to head the market and I am happy enough to take him on.
SERGEI PROKOFIEV will hopefully prove a different proposition this season as I felt he still had plenty of growing to do and looked the unfinished article in a number of runs last season. He was a very solid fourth behind Mabs Cross in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket before his form slightly failed off towards the end of the season, culminating in defeat at Sandown when favourite.
He may simply have too much for this field and I expect him to contest the finish. I would expect much more from this horse this year.
6.05 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF FILLIES MAIDEN
The John Oxx-trained ZAHIRA LOREDANA was an eye-catcher when finishing fourth behind Wichita at Leopardstown last season. That form got a nice boost over the weekend when Wichita ran a cracking race to finish second in the 2000 Guineas behind Kameko.
Zahira Loredana was an unfancied 25/1 shot for her debut but ran a race full of promise. She was slightly short of room close home but ran on nicely. I would expect her to improve for the time off and she could be one to keep a close eye on this season.
6.35 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF (C+G) MAIDEN
Jessica Harrington could top-and-tail the card by winning with a new recruit, MASTEROFFOXHOUNDS.
This horse has joined from the Aidan O’Brien team and its somewhat of a notable change. This horse has run in two maidens and that may just have been to obtain a handicap mark, but he looks the type of horse who could improve off the back of a break.
He is very well-bred and 346 days off the track could be exactly what he needed. It’s a trappy enough race to finish the card but I would be happy to take the chance that Jessica Harrington could find the necessary improvement in this horse to get his head in front.