There's no racing in Ireland tomorrow so Tony Keenan has previewed today's card at the Curragh instead. And Tony will also be previewing each day of the Galway Festival next week starting Monday...
"Ice Cold In Alex appears to have run moderately last time but a look at the replay of his seventh at Navan says otherwise; he met significant trouble and finished with running to give."
There's just the one Irish meeting this weekend and it has a relatively early finish too at 17:10 with the idea being that stable staff will get at least some rest ahead of the madness that starts in Galway on Monday. That suits me too actually as I'm heading to Croke Park to see the only team that gets my heart racing without financial involvement as Monaghan play in the All-Ireland Qualifiers. Before that, however, is what looks quite a good punting card at the Curragh.
Curragh 14:55 - Kailee can improve for drop in trip
Pavlenko is a weak favourite not least because this seven-furlong trip is too sharp for her; her best effort came over a mile-and-a-half and while she ran third in a mile maiden back in May the pace was frantic and it suited the stayers. Betty Loch is respected and looks a fair price but narrow preference is for the improving Kailee. She left her debut effort at Naas behind last time over this course, unlucky not to finish closer than fourth as she met trouble, and her strong travelling style and breeding (by Bated Breath and a half-sister to a sprinter) suggests this drop in trip will suit.
Curragh 15:30 - Concentrate on course-and-distance form
The key form-line looks to be a course-and-distance race over Derby weekend when Silverkode won narrowly from Severus with Plough Boy back in third. The second, fourth and sixth all won next time and while Silverkode heads the betting now, he deserves to. He was a three-year-old beating his elders last time and he didn't get a clear run either and looks by far the most likely winner of this. I quite like the fact connections have come back to the Curragh where he has won twice rather than go to Galway as he remains an inexperienced horse (he only had his first run back in May) and that track could catch him out.
With all that said, it is a surprise to see Plough Boy a quite so big a price as I would have expected him to be the second pick of the market. He backed up his run behind Silverkode with another fine effort in a race that was notably good on the clock. I'm looking for a way to bet him here and the place market is a good option though it might be worth seeking out some without the favourite options later in the day.
Curragh 16:05 - Ice Cold In Alex and Enter The Red look well-treated
Sprinters are not catered for at Galway, seven furlongs the shortest trip they race over at Ballybrit, so it isn't the greatest surprise that this race has brought together a competitive field with a number having claims to be well-handicapped. The Lynam pair Miss Power and Magic Bear are the most obvious of those but both look short enough in a strong race especially with the latter coming off a below-par run.
Ice Cold In Alex appears to be doing similar but a look at the replay of his seventh at Navan says otherwise; he met significant trouble and finished with running to give. Though only a 0-85 handicap that looked a strong race; the time was good, the right horses were involved at the finish and the ones down the field have come out and run well. Not only that but Ice Cold In Alex got a sectional upgrade for his run and is building a decent record over five furlongs since dropped back to that trip on his final start as a two-year-old.
Even with a concern about the ground, I can't resist a small play on Enter The Red too. An eight-year-old with 45 career runs shouldn't still be improving but that is exactly what he is doing judging on his two efforts in 2017. The form of his last win is working out in fits and starts but again the time was good and he would be helped immensely by a little rain so keep an eye on going updates.
Curragh 16:40 - Oppose favourites with Political and Art
Both the short-priced runners are worth opposing here. Zeftan has run twice over the both the recent classic weekends and has risen in the weights as a consequence so could be coming to the end of his tether while Apparition has to rate a doubtful stayer over 12 furlongs; he may have looked to be finishing strongly last time over ten but that was deceptive as it was a slowly-run race and he was showing speed rather than stamina. His previous efforts over a mile two suggested he doesn't stay and he is by Dream Ahead.
Political Policy went through a period in the doldrums last year but his last two runs have been excellent and I was impressed with how he pulled clear with the well-treated Landsman last Sunday despite the slow pace. A 98-rated all-weather horse at his best, he is now rated 87 in that sphere and he appeals as a horse that has just gotten going on the turf and can take advantage of a mark of 72.
Jockey bookings are always important in races like this and I like the booking of Mr R Deegan on Shes An Art; though claiming seven pounds, he is experienced for it and has ridden winners for good yards like Willie Mullins, Pat Fahy and the Fahey brothers. Judging on her runs this year, Shes An Art retains all her ability from last year yet has dropped from a mark of 82 to 72. The form of her seasonal return at Cork has worked out particularly well, the three that surrounded her in the finish rated a combined 43lbs higher now. She had a break after that but her last run at Naas was encouraging and she should improve for that.
0.5 Point Back Kailee @ 6.611/2 or bigger in the Curragh 14:55
0.5 Point Place Back Kailee @ 2.35/4 or bigger in the Curragh 14:55
1 Point Place Back Plough Boy @ 3.02/1 or bigger in the Curragh 15:30
1 Point Back Ice Cold In Alex @ 11.010/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:05
0.5 Point Back Enter The Red @ 7.06/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:05
1 Point Back Political Policy @ 6.05/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:40
1 Point Back Shes An Art @ 12.5 or bigger in the Curragh 16:40
2017 P+L: +4.7 points