Our horse racing expert Andy Holding has four tips for today's action, including a NAP at Galway.
Patrick Mullins, the most successful amateur in the history of jump racing, amazingly has never won the biggest prize the Flat has to offer in this sphere, but the 31-year-old has a decent chance of finally breaking his duck at the 15th attempt with his mount Hook Up one of the leading contenders. The Rich and Susannah Richi-owned mare appears to hold strong claims, having been placed at Group 1 level of hurdles, it's just a case of whether she can translate that sort of form onto the Flat. Hook Up aside, Willie Mullins looks to have equally fine prospects of adding to a race he has farmed in recent times in the shape of MY SISTER SARAH (best price 7-1) and FOVEROS (best price 6-1) and they could turn out to be the strongest players for the Closutton handler.
The former has been an amazing servant for her connections under both codes over the years and she appears to be as good as ever based on her recent exploits. Not quite meeting the standard of Grade 1 company of the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals respectively, since then the seven-year-old has improved significantly for the fitting of a tongue tie, resulting in a fine third at listed level over hurdles and a victory when reverting back to the Flat at Listowel when last seen. Significantly, her performance at the Kerry track was made to look even more impressive when you considering her final circuit sectionals were much better than her 99-rated stable mate Saldier, who landed the last race on the card. Slightly unlucky in a decent maiden at this meeting last year when she got forced incredibly wide throughout, the daughter of Martaline went on to run even better in a competitive hurdle later in the fixture and with connections no doubt bringing her back here again with a view to doing even better this time around, the booking of crack amateur Jamie Codd puts the icing on the cake of her credentials.
The latter made a total mockery of his Flat rating when running right away with a hugely competitive handicap at the Curragh back in May and even allowing for a steep rise, he still could turn out to be well treated of his new perch of 83. So far, the likes of Dinard Rose, Ilmig and Dalton Highway have made the form of that two-mile heat at the Co Kildare track look even better and hailing from a trainer/jockey combination who landing this prize twice recently with Whiskey Sour and Uradel, the talented six-year-old is a must for any shortlist.
NATIONAL BALLET (NAP) (best price 5-2) proved a warm order to take advantage of what appeared a lenient opening handicap mark at Limerick last time out and having justified that appraisal in pretty decisive fashion, Aidan O’Brien’s colt rates a strong choice to show that even a 12lb rise in the ratings isn’t enough to derail him for the time being.
Promising in three maidens, the three-year-old was pitched in against the older, more established handicappers at the Greenmount Park venue and there were times when he looked vulnerable and most unlikely to land the gamble. However, once straightening up for home, the son of Deep Impact really picked up the bridle in no uncertain terms and by the time he’d hit the line, he was well in command. Indeed, such was his superiority of his rivals 22 days ago, he managed to outrun his stable mate, the 94-rated King Of The Castle, on the overall time and backend sectionals despite racing on the slowest part of the track, so based on those findings, it’s pretty clear this lightly-raced colt is capable of a whole lot more than the assessor has afforded him.
Some household names, mainly from the National Hunt sphere, dominate the front end of the market in this concluding maiden, but it may well be that TRUCE (best price 22-1) has been totally overlooked by the layers and she’s worth a decent interest at massive odds to back up that viewpoint.
Looking as though badly need of the experience on her debut at the Curragh, Joseph O’Brien’s filly was quietly fancied to perform a whole lot better at Killarney recently and you’d have to say she lived up to expectations by finishing a creditable third. Still plenty on her plate as the field turned for home at the Co Kerry venue, the daughter of Declaration Of War impressed with how she finished off her race to be gaining on the front pair late on and with the distinct likelihood of even more to come over today’s stiffer track, she looks nowhere near the 20-1 poke bookmakers will have you believe.