It's the fourth Irish classic of the season at the Curragh this afternoon and Tony Keenan has found four horses to back at flat racing HQ...
"Forever Together was one of those apparent surprise winners in the Epsom Oaks and that form looks marginally the best on offer again."
If you asked punters what would win the Irish Oaks at the end of last year, the names Happily, Clemmie, September and Magical would have been popular responses. Yet here we are on the day of the race and two of them haven't made it while the other two are starting back in a Group 2 tomorrow with a view to autumn campaigns. Amazingly, none of that quartet has won a race in 2018 but Aidan O'Brien is still odds-on to win today's classic. Things may change fast in racing but sometimes they stay the same.
Curragh 14:35 - Lyons runner to step up on debut fourth
Giga White was only fourth on debut over this course-and-distance but he shaped like the best horse, finishing much faster than anything else in the race on sectionals, the only one of those from off the pace to get involved. The Lyons juveniles are trained to progress from debut but it is not unreasonable to expect more than typical improvement from this one as he was slowly away and buffeted when initially asked for his effort.
The Ballydoyle trio are obvious dangers but Mount Tabora has had two goes now and didn't improve much from first to second start while both Western Australia and Whitsunday Islands are relatively cheap purchases given connections.
Curragh 15:10 - Kailee can make amends for unlucky defeat
Bill Farrell likes success at the Curragh, sending out more winners here than any other track in his career, notable given the bigger operations tend to dominate here. His Kailee has run well on all four of her starts at the course, winning a maiden last August over this trip, and she really should have doubled that tally on her seasonal return three weeks ago.
She travelled like the best filly the whole way through that race but a barging match from two furlongs out meant she only got daylight late on and went down by a short-head. A four pounds hike might seem harsh enough but her defeat came in a good time-figure and she should improve for the run.
Curragh 16:20 - Maiden Gee Rex can make pattern breakthrough
The Anglesey can be one of the more underwhelming races of the juvenile pattern but this season's running is a fascinating one: Marie's Diamond is the solid horse with the best form, Viadera looked something out of the ordinary on debut while Just Wonderful bids to get back on track after her Royal Ascot disappointment.
Perhaps the most overpriced one is Gee Rex however. He looked of little account on debut but took a massive step up when an unconsidered rag in the Marble Hill, coming fourth to three Aidan O'Brien runners. Each of them have looked Group 2 class since and while it is reasonable to think they improved from the Curragh, Gee Rex had every reason to do the same; he looked clueless in the early stages and finished well, sectionals showing he was quickening and not picking up the pieces.
His subsequent eighth in what looked a strong Coventry Stakes is better than it looks too as he got hampered twice after leaving the stalls (being slowly away again here is a concern) but he finished off well having never really been close enough and doesn't deserve to be double figures now.
Curragh 17:30 - Forever Together can improve the record of O'Brien outsiders
I'm a sucker for an Aidan O'Brien trained outsider in these fillies-only Group 1s; going back to 2003, O'Brien has won 35 such races in the UK and Ireland with only 17 of those winners being the shortest price in the market. Of the other 18, 12 were his second string, four were the third string and one was fourth string and if anything this pattern is becoming more marked recently.
Forever Together was one of those apparent surprise winners in the Epsom Oaks and that form looks marginally the best on offer again. She was beaten in the Pretty Polly here last time but I think it was trip rather than ground that undid her, off the bridle five furlongs out but staying on well to the line, essentially beaten by a quicker filly. There is not much between her and Magic Wand on form-lines through Wild Illusion, assuming both were at their respective peaks when beating that reliable sort, and the second-string appeals as being overpriced.
2018 P+L: -15.7 points
1 Point Back Giga White @ 4.03/1 or bigger in the Curragh 14:35
1 Point Back Kailee @ 4.57/2 or bigger in the Curragh 15:10
1 Point Back Gee Rex @ 12.011/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:20
1 Point Back Forever Together @ 4.84/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:30