13:05 Curragh

SMALL OASIS (best price 11/1) shaped with a huge amount of encouragement on her debut at Naas nine days ago and with the likelihood of a big step forward a strong possibility, Michael Grassick’s filly can take high rank in this opening fillies’ maiden. 

In-keeping with her trainer’s overall first-time record with juveniles, she was sent off a 20/1 outsider at the Co Kildare venue, but despite never really threatening to win, she did more than enough in the closing stages to suggest she has a bright future. Although it can be dangerous to compare like-for-like performances with two-year-olds having their first outings in public, it’s worth noting that the daughter of Sioux Nation ran both a faster overall time and better backend sectionals than Hispanic over the same C&D that day, so based on those findings, it seems odd why she should be chalked up four times the price of Aidan O’Brien’s filly her this afternoon. 

Small Oasis - 0.5pts e/w @ 11/1

13:35 Curragh

LAKOTA SEVEN (best price 9/1) has left the distinct impression on his last two starts that seven furlongs was an insufficient test and with connections also quick to recognise the same traits, Joseph O’Brien’s colt looks overpriced on his return to a mile.

Doing all his best work at the finish at Tipperary two starts ago, the son of Sioux Nation was once again outpaced when the pace increased here last time out, but it was good to see him not giving up the ghost to stay on nicely into a never-nearer fourth. Not totally out of place at Group 2 level based on that effort, Joseph O’Brien’s colt rates a sporting choice to cause a bit of an upset.

Lakota Seven - 0.5pts
Lakota Seven Top Three Finish - 0.5pts @ 11/10

15:20 Curragh

HIAWATHA (best price 9/2) seems to be progressing on an upward trajectory, certainly based on the evidence of his latest run, and with course form, soft ground and a potentially favourable all seen as positives in his direction, Aidan O’Brien’s colt is fancied to scoop the big pot.

Runner-up on his first two starts, including in a well-run affair at Galway, the son of Camelot was a warm order to put his experience to good use on his first outing at the Co Kildare venue and, having set out with a degree of intent from the gates, he never looked in trouble at any stage. Still showing signs of greenness at various stages 35 days ago, this scopey juvenile left the impression there’s plenty more to come for further down the line and with Wayne Lordon likely to be given instructions to make plenty of use of his mount dropping back down in trip, he can prove a tough nut to crack if the stands’ side strip proves the place to be in this big field.

Hiawatha - 1pt e/w @ 9/2

15:25 Chester

ALFRED BOUCHER (NAP) (best price 15/4) was agonisingly touched off in the Ebor at York last time out but, with that performance going a long way to suggest his career has hit an all-time high at the age of six, the son of Aussie Rules rates a confident choice to back up that theory around a track that suits.

Yet to finish worse than second since joining Ian Williams, the talented grey gained due rewards for two fine efforts over today’s course earlier in the season when landing a valuable two-mile contest at York two starts ago. Audaciously sent back to the Knavesmire just three days later to see whether he could land a famous double in the big one itself, the son of Aussie Rules looked for all the world as though he was pull off the coup until the late rally of Trawlerman ended the dream in the final strides.

Carried out on his shield that day, he has been given a decent period of time to overcome those heroic exertions and safe with the knowledge that trip, track and ground (has won on soft before) are all in his favour, this strong-travelling sort seems likely to be a huge player in events for the fifth time this season. 

Alfred Boucher - 2pts e/w @ 15/4

15:40 Newmarket

As competitive a renewal of this traditional 1m1f cavalry charge you will see despite a smaller field than usual, but even allowing for the complexities that often surround this race, it would be disappointing if DUAL IDENTITY (best price 10/1) or KITSUNE POWER (best price 20/1) weren’t to have a huge say in the final outcome. 

The former has shaped as though a race of this nature would suit him down to the ground for some time now and his latest effort at Sandown went a long way to back up that view. Last turning for home at the Esher venue, William Knight’s gelding passed all but one of the 15-strong field and, with his backend sectionals unsurprisingly revealing he was by some way the best horse in the race, even a slight rise in the ratings probably doesn’t do him justice. Saved for this race ever since, the long straight and galloping nature of the Rowley Mile should really play into his strengths and providing he ends up being drawn on the right side of the track, his trademark powerful finish should carry him deep into the heart of battle late on.

The latter also has a compelling profile for this race being an improving three-year-old with plenty of solid form in above-average and well-run straight track races. Firstly, he’s proven over today’s track, secondly, his effort in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot deserved upgrading due to his poor draw and thirdly, he represents a stable in unstoppable recent form. Also drawn towards the far side, not too far away from the likely pace-setter, Majestic Dawn, Roger Varian’s gelding has enough quality to make his presence felt. 

Dual Identity - 1pt e/w
Kitsune Power - 0.5pts e/w @ 20/1

16:05 Market Rasen

CASTEL GANDOLFO (best price 7/2) only narrowly failed in his pursuit to land the big summer hurdle over today’s C&D back in July, but a repeat of something similar might well be enough to help him make amends on his return visit. 

Noted going well turning for home in the feature at the Lincolnshire track, Fergal O’Brien’s ended up getting trapped in a pocket up the inside while the eventually winner Piskagh Pike got a lovely smooth run down the outside, and although he rallied well to cause once out in the clear, unfortunately the dye was cast. Racing off a lower mark here this afternoon once taking into account his excellent conditional’s claim, the son of Dark Angel looks certain to be involved providing he’s steered clear of the pitfalls that beset him here 70 days ago. 

Castel Gandolfo - 1pt @ 7/2