Irish Champions Weekend provided quite the spectacle but there were unsatisfactory elements to some of the results; swirling headwinds played their part at the Curragh on Sunday while the races on the outer track at Leopardstown seemed influenced by a track bias with the wide runners advantaged. I find it hard to believe that the exposed Colour Blue was handicapped to win Saturday's final race by over three lengths and her trainer commented afterwards that 'the ground was way better out there.'
And while allowing that Almanzor could be a star we have enough evidence that Found is not so much better than the rest in the Champion Stakes and it might pay to follow some of those that raced towards the inner on the day. Those include but aren't limited to: Persuasive, Minding, New Bay, Highland Reel, Sikandarabad and Reckless Endeavour.
Gowran Park 14:20 - Gal the solid pick
Dreamy Gal looks the overpriced one here though that could be more to do with negatives surrounding some of the other runners. Wayside Flower has the best form but has been off the track for 112 days and steps up markedly in trip, having given no real hint it would suit. A relatively recent entry in the Rockfel is a positive but she looks short. Bound too is underpriced; her penultimate second gives her a chance but the fact remains that she has only one good effort in four.
Building on the promise of her debut when badly drawn at Galway, Dreamy Gal ran second to a good prospect in Winter, comfortably reversing previous form with Magen's Moon. She looks likely to run her race which can't be said of some of the rest, though it would be no surprise if Lady Derrynane proves her biggest danger with the step up in trip to suit.
Gowran Park 15:20 - Take top-rated Laganore
Discipline has potential but doesn't have much - if anything - in hand with some of these and comes off a break so is worth opposing. Preference is for Laganore who could be the most talented filly in any case and the official handicapper seems to think so with her top-rated; she does not deserve to be the third choice of the market.
There was lots of promise in her run at Tipperary last month when second to a well-regarded type in Eddystone Rock and that came off a break. Connections seem to have swerved Irish Champions Weekend in preference for some black type and she looked well up to this level when running in a Haydock Group 3 in May, going like the best filly before not getting home. Her handicap win at Navan the same month beating Ringside Humour four lengths conceding six pounds looks strong now and it could easily have been twice as far.
Ringside Humour herself is not out of hitting the frame here. An admirably consistent sort albeit without winning, she simply looks a better filly than her stablemate Cirin Toinne who is preferred by Kevin Manning.
Gowran Park 17:20 - Holden's star can build on course record
Massayan heads the market but the form of his Galway win amounts to little and the drop in trip around this track is a massive negative; he only led close home last time and now cuts back two-and-a-half furlongs at a less testing track.
The conditions of this race mean it's essentially a handicap and My Direction looks one with scope off 82. He's thrived since arriving with Ellmarie Holden and has an excellent record at Gowran, a course that often produces specialists. The drop in trip is a slight concern but he travelled like he would have no real issue with it last time.
1 Point Back Dreamy Gal @ 8.415/2 or bigger in the Gowran 14:20
1 Point Place Back Dreamy Gal @ 2.466/4 or bigger in the Gowran 14:20
1.5 Point Back Laganore @ 8.27/1 or bigger in the Gowran 15:20
1 Point Back My Direction @ 7.06/1 or bigger in the Gowran 17:20
Flat Season P+L: +11.6 points