After winners at 4/1 and 3/1 yesterday, Andy Holding has five selections for Thursday's racing
The race won by Measure Of Dreams at Tipperary two weeks ago produced an unusually big speed figure for the track standards and with ALOHA STAR (best price 13-8) faring particularly well considering she ended up being drawn on the wrong side of the course, Fozzy Stack’s filly receives a confident vote to get off the mark at the third time of asking.
A respectable eighth in a hot maiden on debut at Naas (fast time figure), the daughter of Starspangledbanner was well-fancied to make a bigger impact at the Limerick Junction venue two weeks later and although she didn’t manage to win, everything points towards her effort being a big improvement. While the first two home were battling out the finish on the favoured far side, she did her job and beat everything around her up the nearside fence and with the runner-up and fourth both going on to advertise the form since, her performance deserves upgrading. Despite being up against several potentially useful newcomers, Aloha Star can hopefully put her valuable experience to good use.
RED VERMILLION (best price 11-2) got the job done at the sixth time of asking in pretty tidy fashion at Fairyhouse last time out and with connections looking to strike while the iron is hot, this in-form mare can answer the call.
Having run better than her finishing position suggested at the Co Meath venue the time before, it was surprising in many respects to see her be allowed to go off at 22-1 10 days later and so it transpired as the daughter of Excelebration got the better of a competitive field. The feature of the performance was the exceptionally good time figure for a race of its distance and grade and with stamina clearly no issue to her based on the evidence of that display a week ago, she looks almost certain to go well again under similar conditions. Monday night’s maiden hurdle winner, Aprils Joy rates the biggest threat hailing from her in-form stable.
LORD RAPSCALLION (best price 4-1) finished his race off well in what turned out to be a keenly-contested affair at Leopardstown 11 days ago and despite top weight, he’s fancied to provide his in-form handler with yet another winner.
In top form at Dundalk throughout the winter, Johnny Murtagh’s gelding turned in an uncharacteristically poor run by his standards when tried in a visor for the first time back on turf at the Curragh after a 126-day break, but with the headgear dispensed with next time out, the four-year-old grey came back to something like his best. Held up towards the rear of mid-division at the Dublin-based venue, the son of Alhebayeb began to make his move turning into the home straight and although he stayed strongly all the way to the line, he was just undone by two who were more prominently ridden in a slowly run race. Form wise, the race has already begun to take shape with the fourth, Big Baby Bull, landing a premier handicap at the Curragh over the weekend and with tonight’s contest representing a distinct drop in grade, he’s taken to overcome a tricky draw. Sirjack Thomas, who got no run whatsoever in the same race at the Dublin venue rates the main threat.
The monopolies commission need to intervene soon if Johnny Murtagh continues at the rate he is at present and DALILEO (best price 3-1) could turn to be another reason why the Co Kildare handler has the hottest strike rate of his compatriots so far this season.
Not seen since finishing down the field over two miles on the all-weather at Dundalk back in February, the son of Galileo was expected to need the run in a 18-strong handicap at the Curragh four days ago and even though that partly turned out to be the case, he also gave out the sort of signs to suggest he will be an altogether different proposition next time out. Having only one behind him with three to run at the Co Kildare venue, the five-year-old unfortunately was forced down a blind alley for the thick end of two-furlongs and by the time he’d worked his way out in to the clear down the outside, the dye was cast. That said, the way he finished off his race strongly suggested it would have been a different story had he received anything like a smoother passage and with step back up to a trip more in-keeping with his overall profile seen as a big positive, he can impose his qualities in a race of this nature.
HARVEST BOW (NAP) (best price 9-2) finished a very creditable fifth in what was easily the best staying handicap run in Ireland so far this season and providing she can run anywhere near the same standard four days on from that excellent effort, she’s going to take all the beating in this much weaker race.
Following a useful first campaign over hurdles during the winter, Noel Meade’s filly was given a 106-day break to get over that industrious period and, as it turned out, she couldn’t have picked a tougher assignment for her comeback run. In a race that contained the likes of Dalton Highway, De Name Escapes Me, Sharjah, and John Snow to name just a few, she managed to more than hold her own against several who are likely to take high rank when they are dishing out the prizes at the Galway Festival in a month’s time. Still going well three out at the Co Kildare venue, the daughter of Intikhab just didn’t have the pace to live with the main players who, in turn, were knocking out the same fractions as Speak In Colours and Magical on the same card in the same time frame, but in was noticeable that she did keep on well enough in her own way to finish well ahead of some useful handicappers who were all, bar a few, rated in the mid-to-high 80’s. Although she’s only managed to win once in 13 starts on the Flat, it’s worth noting that two of her better efforts have come at Galway - a track most similar to tonight’s venue in terms of undulations and stiff uphill climb into the home straight - and with her stats when encountering the word ‘soft’ in the going description reading 2123222653, her prospects will increase to a greater degree with the more rain that falls in the area during the day. Looking at today’s opponents and with the greatest respect to the likes of Take A Turn, Rocky Blue, Sicario and Sky Marshall, none of that quartet would have managed to the same levels Harvest Bow did the other day, so unless something dramatic happens to her, the four-year-old rates a cast-iron each-way proposition in a race clearly well within her range.