Kevin Blake's Irish Racing Tips: Two each-way selections from today's meeting at the Curragh

Kevin has two each-way fancies at juicy odds from the Curragh this afternoon
Kevin has two each-way fancies at juicy odds from the Curragh this afternoon

The Irish racing bandwagon rolls back into the Curragh for a highly-competitive card today and Kevin has two big-price selections that he hopes can help continue his good run of form...


"Yet, those runs have yielded four of her six career wins. It was over that trip that both her wins this season have come over and I feel she may be capable of better still in a stronger race such as this."

Back Sassaway 1pt each way @ 17.016/1 or better – Curragh 15:25

The biggest surprise in the Joe McGrath Handicap (15:25) is that no British trainers have decided to run in it. British sprint handicappers have been dominant in this type of contest for the last two years, so the Irish trainers will be relieved not to have to face any on this occasion.

In terms of the draw, the running rail on the straight track will be lined up 22 yards off the stand side rail and when that is the case, a high draw is not usually as vital as it is when they race up against the stand rail.

While there are a number of progressive three-year-olds in the field, the pick of which is the Willie McCreery-trained Ostatnia, my preference is for an older horse in the shape of the Eamonn O'Connell-trained Sassaway.

There aren't many mares around that have seen more racecourse action than her, with her having raced no less than 62 times, but there is an angle to her. From a handicapping perspective, despite winning two handicaps this season she remains 9lb lower than her career-high mark which she achieved last season. However, an even more interesting angle to her is that of the distances she has run over.

From her 62 careers starts, she has only run over the minimum trip on 12 occasions. Yet, those runs have yielded four of her six career wins. It was over that trip that both her wins this season have come over and I feel she may be capable of better still in a stronger race such as this.

Her run at Cork on Thursday can be safely forgiven, as while she has shown form on it in the past, soft ground has never been to her liking. In terms of the quick turnaround, it is encouraging that one of her wins was gained off just a two-day gap between runs. Her middle draw is fine and with the promising Killian Leonard claiming 10lb off 8-5, I suspect she'll run very well at a big price.


*****

The other race of interest is the Bill Keogh Memorial Handicap (17:05) and it really is fiercely competitive. Cailin Mor and Plough Boy both make appeal, but the race offers a chance to capitalise on a theory I have held for quite some time with regard to the John Joe Walsh-trained Lady Giselle.

The five-year-old will be written off by many as too exposed to win a race like this, with her having had 26 career starts and her last win coming all the way back in April 2014 off a mark 6lb lower than she currently races off. However, my theory about her is that she has been racing at the wrong trip for most of her life.

Of her last 20 runs, only three of them have come at a trip shorter than a mile-and-a-quarter, but those three starts yielded both her career wins as well as a fine second to a well-handicapped rival. I don't think it is a coincidence either, as she regularly travels well in her races over further prior to just not seeming to get home.

In an ideal world, she would undoubtedly prefer a softer surface, but I think the prevailing ground should be fine for her and while it is a very tough race, it wouldn't surprise me to see her run well at a big price.


Recommended Bets

Back Sassaway 1pt each way @ 17.016/1 or better - Curragh 15:25
Back Lady Giselle 1pt each way @ 17.016/1 or better - Curragh 17:05


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