Fresh from a winner in his opening Irish column last week, Mark Milligan has a couple more bets on Sunday...
"River Eden created a big impression when absolutely sluicing up on debut at Dundalk in July, dismissing her twelve rivals in the style of one right out of the top drawer"
October is always a tricky time for punting, marking as it does the transition of the two racing seasons. Turf racing on the flat is starting to draw to a close and plenty of horses will have just about had enough for the campaign, while the jumps is yet to fully gather its head of steam.
The two cards in Ireland fully encapsulate this transition period and stakes are best kept low on what are a pair of tricky punting offerings. Naas has attracted plenty of competitive fields but it's a track I struggle to fully get a handle on, though I appreciate that isn't everyone's viewpoint.
The big race of the day at the County Kildare track is the Irish EBF Auction Series Final at 14:15, which understandably has drawn a big and competitive field with €120k up for grabs.
Likely favourite Lady Of Inishfree caught the eye when finishing sixth on debut at Gowran in July, meeting some trouble in running, but for which she'd have finished closer.
Stepped up into listed company for her second start at Leopardstown last month, she ran a fine race in fourth behind Panama Red.
That form was given a boost when the runner-up came out and won a listed race in fine style at the Curragh last week. Voice Of Angels, who unseated at the start in the same race, has also won since, giving the race a really solid look.
Eurocrat showed improved form when winning a maiden over this C&D last month (by a neck from Corporal Violette), though did it more cosily than the bare winning margin implies. That was Corporal Violette's debut and she takes on Eurocrat once again; she could well improve on what she showed there.
As one would expect in a valuable sales race such as this, there are numerous others with chances, though if I was try and identify one at a bit of a price, it would have to be Chicago Solider, who's still a maiden but has plenty of form to make him competitive in here.
He's also been shaping as if a drop back in trip will suit, and though I won't be putting him up, I wouldn't put anyone off a small speculator each-way.
River Eden worth siding with in listed race
There are a pair of supporting listed races on the Naas card and these have also attracted big fields.
The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Garnet Stakes at 14:50 will likely see Oodnadatta go off favourite, and although she's tough and consistent, the fact remains she still only has a debut win in maiden company to her name. I'm going to take her on with one who might be found wanting for a bit of know-how but still has the potential be a very decent filly.
River Eden created a big impression when absolutely sluicing up on debut at Dundalk in July, dismissing her twelve rivals in the style of one right out of the top drawer. It was no surprise to see her pitched straight into Group 3 company on the back of that last time, though a combination of the longer trip (stepped up from 1m to an extended 10f) and a lack of residual experience seemed to find her out there.
She remains a filly to be a positive about and makes plenty of appeal on turf debut. That impressive opening performance is still relatively fresh in the memory and I've got high hopes that she can still go on to be a pattern-class performer.
She does have to overcome a tricky draw in stall 15, though with a strong pace looking on the cards, I'd be hopeful Declan McDonogh can tuck her in from there.
The other listed race on the card is the closer at 17:05, and the favourite Barrington Court looks sure to take plenty of stopping. She's still relatively low mileage on the flat and a big field/strong gallop looks sure to suit. It's not a race I'll be looking to get involved with, however.
Perfect Attitude to strike for Elliott
Over at Cork, the best bet on the card could well be Perfect Attitude in the 3m novice hurdle at 13:55.
Gordon Elliott's son of Passing Glance still looked very rough around the edges when winning his hurdling debut at Clonmel a couple of weeks ago, having wandered and hung late on.
He also overcame some early adversity to get the job done there (hampered at the first, then badly baulked at the second) and looks the type to make above-average improvement. He also looks sure to relish the step up in trip here and is meeting some largely exposed rivals.
The Elliott stable got this column off to a fine start when triumphing with Off Your Rocco at Limerick last week and I'm more than hopeful they can do us a good turn once again with the unexposed Perfect Attitude.
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Mark's 2021 P&L