It's the first day of Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and Tony Keenan has found four horses to back at Leopardstown this afternoon...
"Foxtrot Liv was visually impressive at the Curragh last time and that is backed up by a time-figure that is about the best in the field but more than anything she could be the filly best-suited by seven furlongs in the field."
It might be sacrilege to admit it but this afternoon's Group 1s at Leopardstown, for all that they showcase the best two three-year-olds in Europe in Alpha Centauri and Roaring Lion, is leaving me cold, at least from a betting perspective; both should win the Matron and Champion Stakes respectively though it is pity they don't face more meaningful opposition.
Instead, it's the shoulder races that look more interesting but before getting to those it is worth pointing out that this meeting is being run on two separate tracks, the first four races on the inner track, the last four on the outer.
The inner track is tight and it can be hard to come from off the pace; of the 12 races run around there at this meeting in the last three years, only one has gone to horse that was held up.
The outer track has seen a bias towards the stands side at this fixture recently though that may not prevail now as the ground is quicker than is often the case but it is something to bear in mind for post-race analysis at least.
Leopardstown 15:20 - Liv to prove well-suited by seven furlongs
Foxtrot Liv was visually impressive at the Curragh last time and that is backed up by a time-figure that is about the best in the field but more than anything she could be the filly best-suited by seven furlongs in the field. Her main rivals look like being better over further or shorter, Trethias and Iridessa seemingly in need of a trip while
Burmese Waltz and Chocolate Music having plenty of speed, and a few of those a badly-drawn too. Foxtrot Liv on the other hand had a relatively low stall in six and should be able to slot into a decent early position from which to strike.
Leopardstown 15:50 - Solid Astronomer likely to go well
There is no great subtlety to the case for Astronomer in the Petingo; he is simply a thriving sort that has plenty of upside after just four starts and has been winning handicaps as he has liked over the past fortnight.
Stall nine is a reasonable draw around the inside track for one that generally goes forward and the presence of Emmet McNamara on top has inflated his price a little. It was surprising to see Donnacha O'Brien choose Saracen Knight ahead of him as he seemed to get a very easy lead last time though he should improve for the run.
The Ricci horses provide plenty of interest and I would be more worried about Sharjah than Limini; the mare looked better over two miles than this trip at Galway, travelling much better in the longer race allowing that she may have been flat second time, and this faster ground is a concern too.
Their third runner Law Girl is not a no-hoper either having done well to win the McEnery Cup at Gowran on her penultimate start before being held up off a slow pace at Killarney last time.
Leopardstown 16:25 - Proven Sydney Opera House can make the frame
The market for the KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes is all about potential with Madhmoon put in very short; he looked very good on debut but Kevin Prendergast juveniles don't always improve for their first run and there seems to be some sentimentality in his price with everyone wishing the veteran trainer another good horse.
The other once-rated horses Masaff and Pythion are coming here off breaks and already seem in need of further than a mile.
Sydney Opera House was well beaten by Madhmoon on his penultimate start but he probably didn't go hard enough in front that day and was left vulnerable to a faster horse.
His jockey was wiser to that next time at the Curragh, a win that makes him the pick on the clock, and his more exposed profile means he looks a touch underrated in the betting, especially in the place. That he will go forward on the inner track is another plus.
Leopardstown 16:55 - Rostropovich a favourite to bet on
Rostropovich was ultimately well-beaten in the King George last time but that was when going hard up front against some of the best middle-distance older horses around in Poet's World and Crystal Ocean whereas this race represents a sizeable class drop from what he has been running in lately. A reproduction of his Irish Derby or Royal Ascot seconds would be good enough against a field that is far from imposing.
None of Mustajeer, Stellar Mass and Giuseppe Garibaldi convince entirely in a finish and has biggest danger could be the filly Kalaxana who had a few things go wrong last time at Cork (missed the break and could have done with a stronger gallop) but had been on an upward curve prior to that.
1 Point Back Foxtrot Liv @ [6.4] or bigger in the Leopardstown 15:20
1 Point Back Astronomer @ [7.0] or bigger in the Leopardstown 15:50
1 Point Place Back Astronomer @ [2.4] or bigger in the Leopardstown 15:50
1 Point Place Back Sydney Opera House @ [2.4] or bigger in the Leopardstown 15:50
1 Point Back Rostropovich @ [2.56] or bigger in the Leopardstown 16:55