The best turf horse on the planet is in Dublin on Saturday for the Irish Champion Stakes. I will also be in Dublin on Saturday, mainly because I live there, but sadly our paths will not cross.
I could scream in frustration but you didn’t click on this piece to hear me whining, so I will stop now.
Ghaiyyath should win, as the odds imply and he’s a sight to behold in full flight. He simply has too much ability for Saturday’s opposition ,while Japan would be my forecast shout.
He suffered an injury in Ascot and he is better judged on his penultimate run in the Eclipse. I will probably just watch the race, so here are a few selections that will carry my cash.
Paddy dangle an extra place carrot in the Petingo Handicap, where ARTHURIAN FAME looks a solid each way play.
His last couple of efforts over hurdles were underwhelming, he’s not a natural jumper though so I’m inclined to give him a pass. His last run on the flat came in Cork a couple of months ago and he ran really well to finish fourth.
It paid to race on the pace that day, and he came from a long way back. The winner has subsequently boosted the form. The Fame, as he’s known to his vocal, and local, connections will race from a pound lower mark on Saturday.
Jon Ess should ensure a decent gallop and he slight step up in trip, as well as the booking of capable claimer Mikey Sheehy are other positives. Leopardstown is the spiritual home of the owners and I’d imagine Arthurian Fame will be primed for a peak effort.
PEACEFUL and Fancy Blue meet for the third time this season in the Matron Stakes with the score stands at one all. At the time of writing Paddy has them joint favourites and that surprises me.
Perhaps they were swayed by Aidan O’Brien stating that Peaceful “had a little break, and is back for the Autumn again”. I expect Peaceful to be fit enough. She won the Irish 1000 Guineas on seasonal comeback, this is a prestigious race and they probably won’t have many more chances this season with a filly who prefers top of the ground.
She should be unbeaten this season and Seamie Heffernan made the bizarre decision to give up the prominent position he found himself in after the stalls opened in the French Oaks.
She only just failed to overcome Fancy Blue despite that disadvantageous track position and she should also be the more comfortable of the pair with the drop back in trip. I would make her clear favourite, and she looks the best bet on the card.
The Boomerang Mile looks an above average renewal, where cases can be made for a handful but it’s probably best to concentrate on the pair at the top of the ratings.
There is only a pound between Century Dream and SAFE VOYAGE on official figures, both are very reliable performers who fall just short at the highest level. My slight preference is for Safe Voyage.
He has been in rare form this season and he chased home the hugely talented Space Blues on comeback. His Goodwood fourth was something of a non-event, but his other couple of starts resulted in comfortable wins.
He was probably at a tactical disadvantage in York last time, yet still came home over three lengths clear of classy mare One Master. He generally plies his trade over 7 furlongs, but I could make a reasonable argument that a mile is what he wants these days. This hardy sort will take plenty of stopping here.
The Sovereign Path Handicap closes the card and it’s a valuable prize run over 7 furlongs. We get an extra place here too, so ANOTHER BATT looks the best play.
This horse was competing in top handicap company a couple of seasons ago, but he lost his way a bit last term. He looked revitalised on his first start for David Barron last month.
He travelled beautifully and won snug enough in the end. That form looks solid, and a 5lb rise looks lenient. He’s still well below his peak rating, and Gavin Ryan takes off a handy 3lbs.
The prospect of a strong pace to run at from a good draw should see this horse go very close.
* Prices on our snazzy new bet widget are bang up to date.
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