THIKRIYAAT (best price 11-4) did remarkably well to finish a close up as he did in the Jersey Stakes considering he was drawn on the wrong side of the track and this looks a good opportunity for him to make amends now on a more level playing field. The other noticeable aspect to that excellent performance behind subsequent Sussex Stakes runner-up Ribchester, is that he didn’t really seem to be appreciating the soft underfoot conditions and it was only in the latter stages once he managed to get himself on some decent ground that he really opened up his stride. Back on a much better surface this afternoon and racing over a trip which should play into his strength, Sir Michael Stoute’s charge should take all the beating with a clear run.
As the saying goes, “never look a gift horse in the mouth”, and that old chestnut sums up perfectly the rather obvious-looking claims of red-hot favourite FRANKIN D (best price 5-2) and he should be backed accordingly. Not only does he arrive here in top shape following a resounding six-length success at Newmarket last time out (very fast time figure), but he’s only gone and landed the favourable plumb draw in stall one right next to the inside fence. Of course, this also could spell possible danger if he gets stuck in behind a wall of horses coming down the straight, but he has the right man on board to muscle his mount out into the clear in plenty of time for Michael Bell’s inmate to power his way to the line just like he did at HQ 13 days ago.
Broadly speaking, Jim Culloty’s team have run well here so far this week and there’s a decent chance that MIGHTY CONCORDE (best price 9-1) will go close for the Co Cork handler in this competitive handicap. Although yet to win a race in 11 starts, the son of Arcadio has turned in some smart performances in defeat, and if he can run anywhere near the same level that saw him chase home the useful Blazer at Leopardstown last season, he has a fair chance of being right in the mix.
INDULGED (best price 10-1) was a bitter flop for those that forced her into odds-on favouritism at Windsor last time out, but there was always a chance that a slowly-run, small-field affair on soft ground wouldn’t suit James Fanshawe’s filly and that proved to be the case. Prior to that below-par effort, the daughter of Teofilo had been impressive both visually and on the clock on better ground at Ripon and providing the track doesn’t get too many more showers in the build up to the race, she has a fine chance of making her presence felt in a wide-open contest.
The chase course at Ballybrit often rewards bold, accurate jumping, and ON FIDDLERS GREEN (best price 8-1) fits the bill of one of few who will relish such a test. A winner two starts ago at Clonmel on only his second start for his new yard, Henry De Bromhead’s charge couldn’t quite cope with Jessica Harrington’s useful chaser, Duckweed, at Limerick last time out, but there’s certainly no disgrace in that effort and a drop back in trip should also suit the son of Stowaway.
IVAN GROZNY (best price 6-4) clocked a massive speed figure when landing the Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary last time out this looks a good opportunity for Willie Mullins’ charge to win his first race on the Flat since joining his new yard. Seemingly enjoying his new positive tactics 20 days ago, the son of Turtle Bowl could have been called the winner some way from home, and even though he was eased down in the closing stages, he still finished well clear of his useful stable mate Sempre Medici. Providing he’s ridden in a similar manner this time around, the result should turn out to be the same.
RED TEA (NAP) (best price 15-8) did virtually everything wrong in the early part of the race at Newmarket last time but still managed to win in the style of an improving filly and she’s strongly fancied to follow up in this similar-looking affair. Given how much energy she expended by pulling hard in the first three furlongs, it was quite remarkable that Peter Hiatt’s charge was capable of running the fastest split time for the latter part of the race and even a 6lb penalty she picked up for that win shouldn’t be enough to stop her from duplicating that success on ground and a track that should suit.