Brendan Duke: Keep the faith in Blairmayne on the Curragh’s Friday card

A day at the races. Lovely.

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Another chapter in my racing life begins this weekend. Heading to Down Royal on Saturday as an owner. Well, owner might be stretching it a bit. A horse in whom I hold a 2.5 per cent share is running. In truth ownership has never been a great ambition of mine. Regular readers will know about my weak sales resistance. The head of the syndicate is a professional salesman. I suppose the result was inevitable.

One of the beauties of being a punter is that we can rent horses. We cheer just as hard as connections, sometimes harder depending on previous results, when the horse we’ve backed gallops to the finishing line. Win or lose, we can breezily switch allegiances to another runner in the next race. Never having to worry about snotty noses, hot legs, or various wind issues. It has been suggested to me that watching one’s steed on the gallops in the morning is a great joy.

Unfortunately my concept of the morning is at odds with those in the training fraternity. Honestly, it’s like dealing with druids. Anyway, fingers crossed for Sapphire Pearl. Hopefully she can show a modicum of ability, and keep the dream alive.

The Curragh stages another Friday evening card. It’s there I will look to for a bet or two. There may be a bit of rain about. We should get ground on the easy side of good.

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So Wonderful sets the standard in the Group 3 Flame Of Tara Stakes (16.50) over a mile. It’s not a particularly exacting standard though. Brook On Fifth looks a solid play here. This filly was a rare debut winner from the Joseph O’Brien yard. She was solid in the betting, and knew her job from the starting gates. It’s possible that she won’t take the big leap forward associated with runners from this stable.

She carried her head a bit high, and ran around when first coming under pressure. They’re signs of greenness, and would be encouraging in terms of likelihood to improve for the experience. Granted, that was only an auction maiden. The second appears to be held in reasonable regard, and there was clear daylight back to the third. Her sire is a strong stamina influence. The extra furlong should be right up her street. She travelled like a very smart filly in that race.

I will take her to confirm that impression.

Having put Blairmayne up for a valuable sprint handicap a few weeks ago, it would seem folly not to support him in lower grade now. He was a non runner that day. The case for supporting him is worth reiterating. His best form has come at the Curragh. He was the victim of a draw bias when running a big race in the Scurry Handicap on Irish Oaks weekend. His subsequent effort at Leopardstown is best forgiven. He suffered interference in a messy race. A mark of 80 is definitely exploitable, and I thing he’ll go very close in the 6f TRM Handicap (17.50).

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The horse who suffered most from the ‘Scurry’ draw bias back then was Ice Cold In Alex. He won the race on the stands side that day. He takes his chance in the Irish Cambridgeshire (18.50). Friday’s mile race is over almost two furlongs further. That’s not really a concern for this trip versatile sort. Indeed, on his couple of previous efforts over a mile, the line has come a bit too early. That’s a concern. Whatever the trip, whatever the weather, whatever the pace set up, Ice Cold finds a way to get beaten.

Backing unlucky losers is a short cut to the poorhouse. This horse has everything in his favour though. He looks well drawn to get cover, and the likelihood is there will be a strong pace to run at.

He’s definitely on a mark he can win off.

Paddy are paying 5 places and he looks about as solid an each way play as you can get.

*Prices correct at time of publishing 

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What do you think?