Andy enjoyed two nice winners on Saturday and is back for more today
Although GAME PUPPETEER (best price 5-1) never really threatened to overhaul the smart mare Airlie Beach in a lady amateur rider’s race here the other night, he did more than enough to highlight his current wellbeing and at the same time point towards his chances in a race of this nature. Better known for his exploits over fences in recent times, Paul Power’s charge has got plenty of sound hurdles form to call on from the past, and with quite of few of those decent performances coming over today’s C&D – including a victory last October – he clearly has a decent chance of brushing aside top weight with the useful Barry John Foley in the plate.
Following his excellent efforts in the Norfolk and Railway Stakes respectively, there’s a strong case to be made that TRUE BLUE MOON (NAP) (best price 7-1) has some of the best form coming into this Group 3 prize and as such, he rates a decent bet at an overlooked 15-2. Undone by the draw when a fast-finishing fifth in the former contest at Royal Ascot, Joseph O’Brien’s inmate wasn’t quite good enough to cope with several high-class colts in the latter event over today’s track last time out, but now dropping back down in both trip and class, he seems sure to go very close despite what the market suggests based on his speed figures.
Runner-up in this race last year, it’s seems logical to think connections of IN OUR BLOOD (best price 12-1) have had this contest in mind for some time and following a nice prep run at Gowran on his seasonal return last time out, Natalie Lupini’s inmate should be about spot on in his bid to go one place better. Slightly disappointing on several occasions after that fine performance behind To Choose twelve months ago, the son of Oratorio bounced back to something like his best form at the Co Kilkenny venue 29 days ago and now 5lb lower compared to last year, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t go close again from his favourable inside draw.
ILL PICCOLO GRANDE (best price 16-1) probably isn’t the full ticket, but he’s run a good bit better than his finishing position has suggested on his last two starts and he’s worth a small interest to see if he can finally piece it all together. A decent third on his first try beyond a mile two stars ago at Gowran, Ger Lyon’s inmate was more than a shade unlucky at Galway last time out when stopped in his run at several crucial occasions rounding the home turn, but given the way he finished off his race, it’s easy to come to the conclusion he would have had a decent say in the final argument with a clear run.
By no means a race for maximum stakes given its complexities, but both SHELBE (best price 16-1) and VOYAGEOFDISCOVERY (best price 33-1) have showed enough of late to recommend a little each-way interest at their respective morning odds. The former hasn’t been running too badly of late and if it wasn’t for meeting several bits of mild interference at Down Royal on her latest outing, she may have actually bettered her final finishing position. Prior to that slightly unlucky effort, the daughter of Big Bad Bob had featured prominently in a similar contest at the same track and having shown a fair level of form over a variety of trips between 5f and a mile, today’s extended stiff 6f should prove ideal for deep-closing run-style.
The latter takes a little more explaining as he’s been a largely disappointing sort for the thick end of a year, but there has been the odd chink of light here and there just to dangle the carrot under the nose. For instance, last time out over today’s course he met a whole pile of trouble in running before flashing home inside the final furlong to finishing a never-nearer ninth of a 30-strong field and while it’s a leap of faith to expect Tom O’Mara’s charge to end a losing run of 19 in a race of this nature, at the same time he’s also not quite the forlorn hope the layers might have you believe based on his ability.