Some of the racing from the Curragh this Sunday is quite informative for the future, and the 1.45pm Maiden that kicks off the day is no exception to the rule.
Would Be King sets a really high standard in the opener, as the race he was third in back at the Curragh in May was to Beckford with Commander Grigio behind him in fourth. Both of those horses are declared to run in the Railway stakes on Saturday.
The horse that was just ahead of him in the Marble Hill, Brother Bear, ran a really good race on soft ground in the Coventry. In fact, Aidan has some well bred types in here who could well leave their ordinary form behind on the second run out.
The Handicap at 2.15pm offers a real chance for the lightly race Silverkode, who can take advantage of a generous looking mark. This horse won over five furlongs on soft ground at this track, and to be honest, I think this longer trip could be made for him!
He could be a real bloomer the further he goes, Imagine is also one for the places in this race, after encouraging runs so far this season.
Next up, The Rockingham at 2.45 is one of the best known handicaps in Irish racing. I can remember Buster Parnell getting off a horse I looked after in the 80’s, and saying it would be a Rockingham winner!
So many of these big Irish sprint handicaps have been won by English trained horses, that it is hard to look past Paul Midgely trained Naggers.
This horse has experience of the track, and it was last year when well-beaten behind New Bidder. That is a bit of a worry as he was rated a lot lower then.
I am going to take an each-way punt on last years winner Sors, he is higher in the ratings, but is still only a five-year-old and these sprinters get better as they get older.
The International at 3.15pm is a race that has been won by the same horse a few times, and Air Pilot will be hoping that he can do what Famous Name did when he missed a year and then won the race again. The trainer of Famous Name, Dermot Weld, has a real interesting runner in the Grey Gatsby though.
This horse, formerly trained by Kevin Ryan, has claimed some notable scalps including Derby winner Australia when winning the champion stakes in 2014. His form has been patchy since, but a reproduction of anything like that would behold enough after getting three lbs off Air Pilot.
The Grangecon Stud Stakes at 3.45pm is a chance for the fillies to shine.
Clemmie caught my eye when behind Gasta at the Curragh and has since finished 7th in the Albany at Royal Ascot. Though I am going to take a chance on the Johnny Murtagh trained Too Familiar, she could well be value to beat the others having already shown a willing attitude.
The Pretty Polly at 4.20, again has some fine fillies who contested races at Royal Ascot, and I was really taken with Sir. Michael Stoute’s Smart Call, who ran a belter behind Qeman in the Coronation.
She is a cracking each-way bet against these, as Zhukova sets a high standard in her back yard.
I know I may be mad, but I give Rekindling a chance of causing an upset in the Curragh Cup at 4.50.
Three year old horses get so much weight from their older counterparts at this time of the season, and trainers would be mad not to take advantage of it. He has solid form if you forgive his Derby run and he would not be the first or last horse to leave behind a poor Derby run.
Wicklow Brave sets the standard as a guaranteed stayer.
The lucky last race, the 5.25 Handicap, is a tough puzzle to solve, but I am looking to Pat Smullen to team up with his boss with Zabalan and send those punters home happy!