Andy Holding is back with six tips for today's racing, with runners at Cartmel and Curragh.
A quality-looking renewal of this Group 2 fillies’ contest and despite her big price, BABD (best price 20/1) is easily capable of punching above her weight.
Well beaten by one of today’s rivals, Matilda Picotte, on her debut back in May, Donnacha O’Brien’s filly showed a good deal more on her next start at Cork and with those two initial efforts under her belt, she pieced it all together on her return to the Mallow track last time out. Racing prominently from the outset towards the nearside, it appeared at halfway that she had a bit to find with several of her main rivals who raced towards the middle, but coming through strongly late on, she soon dispelled that theory by powering clear to the tune of three-and-a-half lengths. Posting a big number into the bargain, it’s good to see the form work out well as anticipated with the fourth scoring well in midweek, and with the potential of even more to come as the season progresses, it wouldn’t come the biggest shock in the world if the daughter of Footstepsinthesand proved the surprise package.
Of the rest, Statuette was hugely impressive when winning at Navan on her debut, it’s just a question as to whether she will be equally effective on an easy surface. One who won’t mind any change in conditions is Comhra as she ran out a wide-margin winner on testing ground at Roscommon on her second start. Runner up to subsequent Albany heroine Mediate at Naas last time, she shaped as though she needed a sterner test and drawn right next to today’s likely front runner, Matilda Picotte over towards the far side, she should get a lovely tow down towards the business end.
ALQAMAR (best price 11/2) looks to have been campaigned with view to having proper crack at this valuable prize and with the jockey and trainer combination continuing to flourish around their local track in recent times, James Moffatt’s gelding should put up a bold bid to preserve his unbeaten record of 3-3 around the Cumbrian venue.
As is often the case with a horse who was in unstoppable form a year ago, it’s extremely difficult to pick up where you left off after a break and that’s very much been the case with the son of Dubawi. However, there was a good deal of promise to be taken out of his latest show at Haydock when he went well for a long way before not quite seeing out the trip, but at least that effort served the purpose of bringing forward towards today’s target. Back on a realistic mark over his optimum trip, the eight-year-old should be ready to rock and roll for fourth time at his happy hunting ground.
As is often the case in these sprint races at the Co Kildare venue, loads of previous C&D form to ponder and of those who know the ropes, both ROUGH DIAMOND (best price 10/1) and COUMSHINGAUN (best price 14/1) come into the equation on several fronts. Also, as we don’t yet know where the best ground will be on the straight track, a runner either side of the draw probably isn’t a bad option.
The former hails from a yard synonymous with sprinters over the years – many who have strutted their stuff over this very famous strip of land – and of the seven times he’s faced the starter at the Co Kildare venue, only once has to failed to run any sort of race (over seven furlongs). Looking at the times when he has shone, it’s noticeable that each effort came when there’s been plenty of give underfoot, so with conditions heading towards the soft side as the day progresses, he will one of the few inconvenienced. A good winner on easy ground at Naas two starts ago, his latest effort over today’s C&D was hampered by racing on the wrong side of the track and ground quicker than ideal, but on the two occasions when conditions have been genuinely soft, he won his maiden in convincing fashion followed by a tremendous performance on his first handicap outing on just his second career start.
The latter couldn’t be described as a regular here by any standards but on the two times he has lined up, he’s managed to run to a fair level. Fourth in a competitive nursery on just her fourth career start when things didn’t quite go her way, her only other outing saw her finish a creditable sixth of 23 in a competitive handicap a month ago. Off the mark much to her connections’ delight at Listowel last time out, the well-run nature of that extended six-furlongs really suited the daughter of Fastnet Rock and that ability to see out the trip and beyond should stand her in good stead here this afternoon as today’s contest is likely to be a fair test of both speed and stamina.
Jockey bookings suggest MY ASTRA (NAP) (best price 7/2) is very much second in the pecking order to stable mate Purplepay in this Group 1 but, as a similar situation arose at Royal Ascot whereby Tom Marquand got it wrong choosing between Maljoom and My Prospero, lightening looks like it could strike twice in favour of the former.
Winner of her first two starts last season, William Haggas’ filly was pitched into listed company for her final outing of the campaign and although she came up a little short in the final reckoning, she totally justified her participation in a race of that quality. Shaping as though a mile on the all-weather was an insufficient test at Kempton on her return to action, the daughter of Lope De Vega was a totally different proposition last time out back on turf at Ayr and in scoring by a whopping 12 lengths, she knocked the ball out of the park on the figures.
The key component to that hugely impressive display, along with her effort at Saint Cloud last year, was soft ground and with the conditions at today’s venue set to deteriorate significantly throughout the day, her chance of landing this prize will increase with every drop that falls.