You had me at G’day. According to my sister-in-law who lives in Perth, a typical Aussie Valentine present is a bottle of Tooheys and a pack of Tim Tams, both of which make plenty of appeal to this portly Yorkshireman.
The horse of the same name has finished second in the Irish Lincolnshire (16:50) for the last three years and didn’t disgrace himself on his first start for Adrian McGuinness last month. He’ll be looking to make it fourth time lucky, while the similarly-titled Third Time Lucky is part of a strong raiding party for Irishman-turned-Yorkshireman Richard Fahey. However, preference is for Pincheck, who used to be trained by an Italian but is now in the care of one of Ireland’s leading trainers: Jessica Harrington. Pincheck won three times for his new yard last season, including first time out, and he looks to hold a leading chance here.
The Group 3 Express Stakes at 16:15 looks competitive, however the pick of the seven fillies could be Elegant Pose. She won three of her four starts as a three-year-old last season, and showed that soft ground holds no fears on her final outing over this course and distance. She’s a half-sister to the same connections’ Brendan Brackan, a 10-time winner whose victories included the Irish Lincolnshire here 12 months ago. Elegant Pose faces a stern challenge, though, from Making Light, a winner at Leopardstown on her final start last season, and the race-fit British challenger Star Quality.
Elsewhere on the card, Joseph O’Brien appears intent on winning the Premier Handicap (15:40). He could only manage seventh place with Circus Ring 12 months ago, but he’ll be juggling owners this time around with four horses engaged. The market should help give a good indication of their chances – Band of Outlaws looks the pick on form – however it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the horse owned by his mother Annemarie run a big race; Bachelor.
Bachelor Duke was a fine racehorse, certainly better than namesake Brendan has had in his yard of late, and the last-named may be up against it once more in the five furlong maiden that opens the card at 13:55. He saddles Pride of Pimlico, who is related to winners, but it’s Duke’s former boss Jim Bolger who could have the most interesting runner. Son of Beauty is a half-brother to six furlong winner Focus On Heaven and his dam is from a smart family too, so a bold bid is expected in the first turf race of the 2018 Irish Flat season.
Timeform Selections at Naas:
13.55 – Son of Beauty
15.40 – Bachelor
16.15 – Elegant Pose
16.50 – Pincheck