Gary O'Brien returns with his best bet from today's eight race card at the Curragh...
As Curragh fixtures go, today's eight-race card is one of the less appealing from a betting point of view but the ongoing battle for the jockeys championship between Shane Foley and Colin Keane should at least provide plenty of interest.
With Foley over at Newmarket to partner Lucky Vega in the Middle Park Stakes yesterday, the 2017 champ was unable to make further inroads at flat headquarters as none of his six mounts really threatened but his treble at Dundalk the previous evening means the gap now stands at just three. Both men will fancy their chances of adding to their tally this afternoon, and there is an interesting sub-plot to the Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital Race at 16:15.
Irish Derby fourth Order Of Australia heads the market here but he is easy enough to oppose after making heavy weather of landing a minor event on the polytrack - albeit after a midsummer break - earlier this month. Ebendi is interesting after beating today's rival Pugin at Killarney but the obvious alternative is Mirann, who hasn't been seen to best effect in any of his three starts since making a successful Irish debut at Gowran Park in June and almost certainly has a stronger chance of toppling the Ballydoyle inmate than official figures imply.
A promising sort in France, he was partnered by Foley when finishing seventh in the Petingo Handicap on Irish Champions weekend last time but Jessica Harrington has claimed him for Golddragon Reef here and that has opened the door for Keane to take the mount for the first time.
Both he and trainer Johnny Murtagh will be aware that the Motivator gelding has been left with a lot to do on each of his last three outings, latterly in that Leopardstown contest which was ultimately dominated by horses that raced closer to the pace, and one can almost feel a sense of exasperation at recent events in this choice of race for Mirann.
After all, he looks to be well capable of landing a big handicap off his current rating but will probably get a fair hike if he wins this €15,000 event. However at least today's small field will hopefully mean he doesn't end up with a mountain to climb once again and if the cards fall right he should be hard to beat.