Only the Curragh hosts Irish racing this weekend and Tony Keenan has a pair of bets for their afternoon card...
"The problem is that he faces a serious rival in Decrypt who beat him over four lengths on debut and ran to a level that would be good enough to win most maidens."
Bizarrely, there is no Irish racing this Sunday and only one meeting today at the Curragh, highly unusual for the time of year. Per the fixture makers, tomorrow is one of five summer Sundays without flat racing in a bid 'to ease the workload during the busiest months of the year.' The staff will undoubtedly welcome a day off - or at least a day without travelling - though it is hoped not too many of them are handed a paintbrush on Sunday morning and told to tidy up the yard a bit!
Despite there being just a single card at the Curragh it is an interesting one because of a big Pick Six Tote rollover. The last four races of that pool bet have relatively small fields which will appeal to many though getting through the second - a 27-runner, low-grade sprint handicap - could present a challenge. The opening juvenile maiden at least has a few horses that have had a run so while these things are never easy, it does appear somewhat manageable.
Curragh 14:10 - Decrypt sets a high bar for his rivals
That Aidan O'Brien two-year-olds can improve massively for their first run is a truth universally acknowledged in Irish racing markets but even so that progression factor might be too much in the price of Cardini. His debut effort was a neutral one, a bit keen early and dropped out in rear, ridden more with the next day in mind and not given a hard time in the finish. The problem is that he faces a serious rival in Decrypt who beat him over four lengths on debut and ran to a level that would be good enough to win most maidens.
Like Cardini, he was slowly away but came home in a fast sectional to take second, having to weave his way through, and the overall time was good too. The early signs from the form are positive - the fifth Dom Carlos easily won against winners last evening - and it needs pointing out that the winner Indigo Balance essentially had racecourse experience having won a barrier trial on the bridle previously at Dundalk. Perhaps Decrypt won't improve from debut - he was well-backed suggesting he was fit and Paddy Twomey is good at having them ready - but even maintaining the level of last time should make him hard to beat.
Curragh 16:30 - Honeyman to build on recent Ayr runs
Aared won well over course-and-distance last time, a race that seems likely to work out, and this is a lesser contest. There are concerns though: he has struggled off marks in the 90s before and there is a strong suspicion he is best fresh, something his trainer commented on after last time. One can make a case for Tirmizi; he was attracted support in the same race Aared won and travelled well for much of before seeming amiss in the straight, his rider reporting that he hung left. A more solid win and place alternative however is John Honeyman.
He cost 120,000 guineas as a yearling and ran reasonably well in some decent maidens for Jessica Harrington but was down to just €22,000 when bought by Adrian Keatley at the end of his juvenile campaign. His three-year-old season was basically a write-off but there has been better this year with his last two runs at Ayr suggesting he can win off 72.
He did well to haul in the enterprisingly ridden Bollin Ted (a winner since) on the first of those in late May before travelling like the best horse when retuned to the track the following day. It looked as though his exertions the previous day may have taken their toll but while beaten by a big outsider the form has been boosted by the distant third winning by seven lengths yesterday. It is low-grade form but he remains unexposed in a race where few are appealing.
2018 P+L: -16.1 points
2 Points Back Decrypt @ [2.9] or bigger in the Curragh 14:10
0.5 Point Back John Honeyman @ [9.4] or bigger in the Curragh 16:30
0.5 Point Place Back John Honeyman @ [2.6] or bigger in the Curragh 16:30