With a very healthy level-stakes profit posted at Royal Ascot, Alan Marron‘s run of success rolls on to The Curragh for the three-day Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby meeting, which runs from Friday to Sunday.
Here he takes a look at Friday’s card and, as ever, his analysis makes for interesting reading and flags up some nicely-priced selections.
4.15 PHOENIX OF SPAIN IRISH EBF FILLIES MAIDEN
This race provides a fascinating start to Irish Derby weekend and it looks a race where experience could come to the fore.
The Henry De Bromhead filly, TAKEKO, ran a race full of promise on her debut at Fairyhouse behind Luminesce, who is trained by Ger Lyons. She was slowly away and met plenty of trouble in running and did all her best work in the final two furlongs to get up and grab fourth close home.
She was trapped on the inside rail and, when she finally got switched to the outside, it was all too late but she ran on well close home.
I was very taken with the winner of the race and it could prove to be a decent maiden.
Takeko should improve off the back of that run and will be hard to keep out of the frame.
4.45 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF C+ G MAIDEN
This race looks all about ALEX D as the form of his debut third behind Lucky Vega at Naas has really worked out nicely.
A bit like the filly I mentioned in the first race, this horse found trouble in running and only got the message late on to run on very strongly at the death. Ger Lyons and Colin Keane have been in cracking form in recent weeks and this could very well be another winner for them here.
In terms of the form of the race from Naas, the second, Lipizzaner, went to Royal Ascot and finished fourth in the Norfolk Stakes, the fifth, Battleground, went and won the Chesham Stakes and the ninth, Laws Of Indices, got up close home to break his maiden at Navan on Tuesday.
That type of form should be more than enough to see Alex D go very close here.
5.15 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF FILLIES MAIDEN
Johnny Murtagh could hardly have his team in better form at the minute and I am going to take a small chance with SHE’S OUR QUEEN who may improve off the back of a very creditable debut run.
She has form to find with Bearberry, who reopposes, but I think it’s possible she could get closer to that filly this time around.
The biggest thing for me with this filly is that, if you watch the way she finished her race at Leopardstown, it has to be judged a very pleasing introduction. She was third-last as they turned in and, while she didn’t get much racing room inside the final furlong, she was given a nice introduction and looked to me like one to keep a close eye on next-time out.
A REMINDER THAT WE ARE PAYING EACH-WAY 1/5 THE ODDS ON 4 PLACES IN SATURDAY’S IRISH DERBY – A LINK TO OUR PRICES CAN BE FOUND ABOVE
5.45 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF C + G MAIDEN
THE RAIN KING went straight into my notebook after his debut behind Masteroffoxhounds last time at Naas and, even though he has form to find with Mr Wendell, who reopposes, he could turn out to be a lovely prospect for Donnacha O’Brien.
The further they went at Naas this horse was only getting into gear and I am of the opinion he could be a totally different animal this time around. He cost 130k as a foal and then it increased to 250k as a yearling. Gavin Ryan will take five pounds off his back here and that could help produce the vital turnaround in form that he will need.
He is likely to improve for a step up in trip over time, but he looks one of the main contenders here today.
6.15 ANGLESEY LODGE EQUINE HOSPITAL FILLIES MAIDEN
It could be a quick double for Donnacha O’Brien here with a lovely filly called OH SO TRUE.
Anyone who gets the chance, try and watch how this filly ran on debut. She was caught on the inside as they turned for home and she got a lovely passage up the straight and, to me, looked a big-striding filly who will need every yard of the trip that she will face here.
She looked like a rangy filly who would improve massively off the back of a run. The two fillies that finished ahead of her ran in the Group 3 ‘Blue Wind’ at Naas this week when Snow finished second and Salsa finished down the field.
This filly cost 750k and is by American Pharaoh. I think she could be a name that we will all have to put in our tracker. She really caught my eye last time and hopefully she can be in contention here.
6.45 HANLON CONCRETE HANDICAP
While many National Hunt fans would associate Eddie Harty with the likes of Captain Cee Bee, Coney Island and Dressedtothenines, he is also very adept at getting a flat horse ready and raring to go.
DAVID GARRICK ran a very good race when second to Confidence High, trained by Andrew Oliver, last-time out. The form of that race has worked out nicely with the winner going in again and now being rated 87. The fifth, seventh and twelfth horses from that race have all come out and won since so David Garrick looks nicely handicapped to me off a five-pound higher rating.
He was well clear of the third last-time out and, with luck in running, he should go very close.
He’ll be hard to keep out of the frame if he can improve on the run last time out.
7.45 TRM FILLIES HANDICAP
There is a line of form here with a previous selection on the card and it may be worth paying close attention to it.
ST CLERANS will be the mount of Shane Foley for Jessica Harrington here and she finished sixth in the maiden that Oh So True, who runs in the 6.15pm, ran in.
The most noticeable thing here is that this filly is dropping back in trip as, last-time out, she arrived there looking like she was going to go close and just didn’t stay and dropped away close home.
She is guaranteed a stronger pace here and I think that will really suit her. As they arrived at the two-furlong pole last time out you would have thought that this filly was going to give them plenty to do and she just didn’t find much off the bridle when asked.
Shane Foley sides with her rather than stablemate Justina and that is good enough for me. She has a mark of 80 for her handicap debut and finished about four lengths behind Snow who is now rated 103.
I am happy to take a chance on her off that mark as the handicapper looks to have been a little lenient.
8.15 EXTRA.IE APPRENTICE DERBY
ISOTOPE is a very interesting runner for Joseph O’Brien based on its recent pipe-opener for the yard at Gowran Park.
As they turned for home he only had a couple of horses behind him and got blocked for room twice up the straight before heading to the inside rail and staying on to finish seventh, not beaten far at all. He remains on the same mark here of 78 but steps up in trip.
With a small stamina doubt, he will likely be switched off at the back of the field and come through late with his run, like he tried at Gowran Park. Shane Crosse is on board here and will know the horse well as he is based with Joseph’s team.
It’s a tricky conclusion to Day One of an excellent three-day Irish Derby meeting so, hopefully, we can get a winner on the board here.
Should go very close granted luck in running.