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Curragh - Saturday 25th June
Nap of the day – Sovereign Debt (4.05)
3.00 – Intelligence Cross - Dubai duty Free Finest Surprise EBF Maiden – Win
Intelligence Cross is likely to improve on a promising debut effort and should be winning now. He had Perfect Soldier a few lengths behind him when just losing out to the more experienced Grand Coalition over the course and distance earlier in the month and looks the one to beat. Imagine If was very well supported when runner-up to the subsequent Royal Ascot fifth Callender on his first start at Navan in the middle of last month and may emerge as the biggest danger to the selection. A few of the newcomers are sure to play their part and clearly the well-drawn Cleona, Khukri, Suwaan and Pious Alexander are worth a second look as the betting markets take shape.
Exacta – 5-4
Trifecta – 5-4-2
3.35 – Champagne Or Water - Paddy Power Handicap – Each/Way
Champagne Or Water must have a chance in an open handicap like this. She was a winner over seven furlongs at Gowran Park in late April and put in another big performance when runner-up to Cregg Pipes over this course and distance a month ago. She is up another 4lbs here but looks a bet against Elusive Heights who is running in his first handicap after chasing home Long Island Sound at Killarney. Wexford Opera is up 4lbs for his win at Gowran Park on Sunday and he too should be involved along with top-weight Hasanour who wasn’t that far behind his winning stable companion Portage at Royal Ascot. Eastern Rules is another Michael Halford runner to note as he was running for the first time since January when fourth to Shepherd’s Purse at Gowran Park earlier this month.
Exacta – 4-10
Trifecta – 4-10-1
4.05 – Sovereign Debt - Listed Dubai Duty Free Millenium Millionaire Celebration Stakes – Win
Sovereign Debt is no stranger to success on this side of the Irish Sea and he can add to last year’s win in this race. In all, he won in Ireland on three occasions in 2015 and went on to win at Tipperary and Leopardstown after his runaway victory here. He was much improved when runner-up at York last time and can prevail at the main expense of Cougar Mountain who drops in class after his Royal Ascot run in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes where he was eighth behind Tepin. Foxtrot Charlie won at this level at Leopardstown two weeks ago but this looks a better race and possibly Hint Of A Tint will be a bigger danger after her encouraging effort behind Devonshire here on guineas weekend.
Exacta – 2-1
Trifecta – 2-1-8
4.40 – Peace Envoy - Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes – Win
Peace Envoy went close over five furlongs at Royal Ascot and should appreciate the step up in trip. He was only beaten a little over a length when fourth to Prince Of Lir in the Norfolk Stakes having earlier won well over this distance at Naas. He just lost out to today’s rival King Electric on soft ground over the minimum trip here at the start of last month but is taken to turn the tables on this better ground. King Electric has done nothing wrong and ran out the easiest of winner over a trip close to this at Navan subsequently and it is interesting that Colin Keane is riding Medicine Jack who was also a very good winner at Navan last time out. War Decree is a stable companion of the selection and he was up to making a wining debut over seven furlongs at Leopardstown earlier in the month. This drop back in distance is unlikely to be an issue and he might represent a bigger threat than the sole British raider, Dream Of Dreams.
Exacta – 7-5
Trifecta – 7-5-9
5.20 – Harzand - Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby – Win
Harzand was a gutsy winner of the Epsom Derby and as his master trainer has given him the green light for this, he gets a confident vote to follow up. There were some doubts about his participation earlier in the week but all is now well and he looks one of the bets of the weekend as conditions are sure to suit. He beat US Army Ranger fair and square at Epsom and while that rival misses out, Aidan O'Brien has found four horses to take the selection on with. Idaho has twice finished behind Harzand but he is sure to be ridden differently than he was at Epsom and remains the biggest threat ahead of stable companion Port Douglas who had gone so close at Chester but finished well down the field in the Derby. He is better than that and the same can surely be said about Moonlight Magic who was stone last at Epsom but was earlier a winner from Shogun at Leopardstown. Red Verdon is another that was behind the selection last time but his connections have supplemented him at a cost of €100,000 and their actions must be respected.
Exacta – 3-4
Trifecta – 3-4-6
6.00 – Don Vincenzo - Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships EBF Handicap – Each/Way
Don Vincenzo comes here on the back of a clear-cut maiden success at Leopardstown and could run another big race here. He was very well fancied when easily beating Mr Fiftyone that night and should make his presence felt again as he contests his first handicap. Mandatario tops the weights after his recent win at the Dublin venue where he saw off Abraham and also had Mckinley further back in fourth place. The ground won’t be as quick now but he should still pose a threat and might do better than British raider Hidden Justice who was a winner at Doncaster on his last start two months ago. Ashbury Boss was a winner at Listowel earlier in the month and he is another danger along with Papa’s Way who went close when third at Limerick.
Exacta – 13-1
Trifecta - 13-1-1
6.30 – Flight Risk - Listed Dubai duty Free Jumeirah Creekside Dash Stakes – Each/Way
Flight Risk has yet to win over his distance but he was just denied here last time and is certainly a leading player. He lost out by a head to Mobsta in the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes a month ago and certainly won’t be inconvenienced by any further easing of the ground. Jamesie was a winner on the all-weather at Dundalk in early April but his chances will be reduced if the rain continues to fall. The same can be said for Toscanini and Yuften but one that will relish an ease would be Maarek who continues to run well. Another Group 1 winner in the field is G Force who has his first run for a new stable here. However, he hasn’t been seen since finishing down the field at Longchamp in October.
Exacta – 3-2
Trifecta – 3-2-7
7.00 – Hazmiyra - Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Summer Fillies Handicap – Win
Hazmiyra is having only her second start and is taken to remain unbeaten. Held in some regard at home, she was a good winner of a maiden race at Naas and the form of that race has been boosted since. An ease in the ground might be in her favour and she is taken to win from Suvenna who went up 14lbs for her comfortable success at Listowel earlier in the month. Queen Of Sicily might appreciate the drop in class after her run behind Jet Setting in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown and another fancied to run a big race is Best No Argue who should again be competitive despite going up 13lbs for her win at Gowran Park on Sunday. Midnitemudcrabs was hit with a 14lbs rise for her win at the same meeting and she too should be considered again.
Exacta – 6-9
Trifecta – 6-9-5