Brendan Duke: I’m smitten with Lovee Dovee at Naas on Sunday

Seems love is in the air for Dukey. Again.

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Smitten. I’m in deep smit. You find me in the midst of a burgeoning romance. I’m walking around with my head in the clouds, giddy as a schoolgirl. Every stranger a friend I haven’t met, every outing pregnant with possibility. So that’s good then. Well it is and it isn’t. I’m reminded of the documentary “Free Solo”. Not long before his attempt to climb the seemingly insurmountable El Capitan, our hero starts going out with a girl.

Eager to involve her in his life, he takes her rock climbing. She promptly let’s him fall. If that weren’t enough she distracts him from his death defying adventure with trips to domestic appliance stores. Well trying to back winners in analogous.

Predicting the future is a tricky business.

Will my focus slip as I attempt to scale the sheer face of Mt Puntathon? Hopefully not. I will use Sunday’s Naas card as a test. The ground will be very testing.

Karawaan-Naas

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Trethias sets the standard in the 1m Listed Garnet Stakes (15.30). She’s usually a dependable sort but has had a busy season. It wouldn’t come as a massive surprise were she to under-perform.

Lovee Dovee looks interesting. She was in danger of becoming disappointing before her Curragh win last time. That performance was a revelation. She was a bit free through the race. Despite this she found plenty when asked, running out a facile winner. That form is largely untested but the fifth home did subsequently give it a boost in lesser grade. Lovee Dovee is a well-related sort.

She may just be coming to herself.

As an improving filly, proven in the ground, she looks a solid play against the fav.

Joseph-O'Brien

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The other Fillies Listed race throws up the next bet. Loveisthehigherlaw steps up in grade to contest the 1m 4f Bluebell Stakes (16.00). Well I say steps up in grade. If you believe the form of her Killarney victory over Blenheim Palace, she arguably sets the standard.

It’s possible that the soft ground, small field, scenario didn’t suit Blenheim Palace. However, he’s been in rock solid form either side of that run. It’s also possible Loveisthehigherlaw, in receipt of 5lbs, was just too good for him. She had looked a smart filly when making a winning debut. That race worked out well. Again she’s a improving filly, proven in conditions. She also comes into this race fresher than most. Given the doubts over the form of her Killarney win, we should get a reasonable price.

I will trust Loveisthehigherlaw to rattle up a hat trick.

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The final bet comes earlier on the card for a horse who’s unproven on a testing surface. Layfayette lines up in the valuable Foran Equine Race over 7f at 14.55. The ground is a worry, but I think it might be worth chancing this fella.

He looks to have a fair engine. He made a promising debut over seven furlongs. His next start was over an extended five furlongs in Navan. He sweated up before the race. He then got no cover from a wide draw. Despite racing keenly, he had enough in reserve to hold on up the punishing hill.

He’s clearly a strong traveller but ridden with more restraint, with cover provided by the big field, I think he’ll be fine over Sunday’s trip. His sire was a particularly ground versatile horse. Trainer Noel Meade has his string in fine form. There’s enough in his favour to justify a wager at the likely rewarding odds.

*Prices correct at time of publishing 

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What do you think?