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It’s Irish Oaks weekend and the big race goes to post at 15:25 on Saturday. Something good happened in the Azores recently and the upshot is that the Curragh will be bathed in sunshine for the weekend.
Expect quick ground and it’s impossible to oppose Snowfall. The three-year-old fillies are a modest lot but she could obviously be a rare talent and I’ll be surprised if she comes off the bridle on Saturday. I struggled to oppose the hotpots on the day.
Beauty Inspire made a most taking debut at this course last month and he should win the Anglesey Stakes at 14:20. Meanwhile, Zoffanien looks the obvious choice in a dire renewal of the Ladies Derby at 16:35. All three of the aforementioned horses will be too short for my punting tastes, but may be of some use in multiples. On to some steeds that will carry my cash.
ADMIRAL D runs in the 6-furlong nursery and this race represents a drop in class for the horse. He was last seen finishing midfield in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and that was a perfectly respectable effort. He had previously won a maiden over an extended 6 furlongs in Listowel and that race worked out pretty well with two subsequent winners in behind.
One of those next time out winners – Threebagsfull – reopposes on Saturday. He’s 7lbs worse off at the weights with Admiral D here though. The ground was soft in Listowel, but the Admiral D coped perfectly well with quicker conditions in Ascot, while the return to 6 furlongs promises to suit. He appeals as a well handicapped sort, who has shown the ability to get his head in front.
Paddy sponsor the Sapphire Stakes and they should be delighted with the quality on show in this competitive renewal. I can see why they make the exciting and progressive Logo Hunter a likely favourite, but he’s a significantly shorter price than I was expecting.
ROMANTIC PROPOSAL makes plenty of each way appeal in this eight-runner race. Granted, her best form has come over 6 furlongs and connections think she’s more effective on slower ground. She did post a career best effort on good ground last time out mind you. The way she travelled in that race suggests the drop to five furlongs won’t hurt her chances all that much.
The form of that race got a boost in France during the week, while Logo Hunter and Strong Johnson should ensure she gets a strong pace to aim at. Expect this improving filly to be scything through the field late on and it would come as no surprise if she gets there in time.
NICEST should be favourite in the betting without Snowfall market, but she won’t be prohibitively short though. This filly will be making just her sixth career start here, and looks suitably progressive. She ran well over a shorter trip at this course on penultimate start and the reliable Patrick Sarsfield gives that form a solid look.
She then ran third in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, where for much of that race she looked the winner to my eye. Perhaps a relative lack of experience in the heat of battle just found her out in the end. She also pulled off a shoe in the race. Snowfall apart, that Ascot form is probably the best on offer here. I’d expect further improvement in what should prove a truly run race on Saturday. That would make her hard to beat in the race to follow the favourite home at a respectful distance.
We get an extra place in the Scurry Handicap, so GULLIVER appeals as a solid play to avenge his narrow defeat in last year’s renewal of this race. That short head defeat came at the hands of none other than Romantic Proposal, while Gulliver competes off a 4lbs lower mark on Saturday. That looks generous given his big run when fifth in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot last time out.
The horse does have a tendency to miss the break and that’s a slight worry, but jockey Gavin Ryan will be aware of this having ridden the horse in last year’s renewal. There should be plenty of pace to aim at here. This ground versatile sort will be very hard to kick out of the frame and he looks overpriced for win purposes too.
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