Some really competitive racing at the Curragh this afternoon as is so often the case at these backed meetings; it seems trainers can't get enough of running their horses as the clock ticks down on the flat turf season while some of the mid-summer cards still struggle for runners. Go figure.
Curragh 14:50 - Jane's Memory can continue her upward curve
The Happy Prince is the obvious standard setter having hit form with a vengeance in recent starts but his overall profile remains patchy and some of those chasing him up in the market are unreliable too; Gordon Lord Byron has had an up-and-(mostly)-down season, Goken has gone back since his excellent Royal Ascot run, Flight Risk is an infrequent winner.
Jane's Memory on the other hand has upside in this grade and gets the benefit of Pat Smullen up. Returning from a full season off, she ran well early this year, notably when beating Ridge Ranger at Haydock, before an excellent sixth in the Sprint Cup at the same track. That run came off a break and she also raced closer to the pace than ideal so it would be no surprise to see an even better effort now on her favoured soft ground.
Curragh 16:30 - Concentrate on five furlong specialists in the Joe McGrath
A number of these seem to be running here because there are no suitable races over further in the near-term with Cenotaph and Downforce in particular looking like they could find five furlongs an insufficient test. I respect the claims of Sors, Tylery Wonder and Tithonus but at the prices Soie D'Leau and Sahreej look the best value.
Soie D'Leau is a minimum trip specialist and hits a key angle being a UK sprinter running in a valuable Irish handicap. His small stable is in excellent order and he shaped really well in the Portland, doing best of the front-runners in a race that was run to suit the hold-up types.
Sahreej ran a cracker on his debut for Adrian Keatley at Dundalk last time and it is interesting that he has been sold since. A good juvenile last season, notably when second to Shaden, he has now found his form at three and looks potentially well-handicapped off 86. Soft ground is a plus as are the cheekpieces as he looked a little lairy last time.
Curragh 17:05 - Take the target horse Toe The Line
Twilight Payment brings the best recent form into this listed event but the softening ground has to be a big concern as all his breeding points to a faster surface suiting better. Forgotten Rules on the other hand will love this ground but he hasn't run in 344 days and connections have been keen to point out that he is being aimed back at the staying race on British Champions Day.
Toe The Line, however, has surely had this as a long-range target having won it in 2014 and finished a close second last year. Her recent run at Listowel was seriously eye-catching; she was coming off a break racing over a trip way too short but travelled sweetly throughout and came home strongly, not given a hard time. There is plenty of pace in this which should suit her come-from-behind style and it hard to see her out of the frame.
Curragh 17:35 - Halford could hold the key in the finale
Complicit could hardly have been more eye-catching over six furlongs last time but he has been well found by the market and softening ground looks against him while Jaqen H'Ghar is about as genuine as the shape-shifting Game of Thrones character he is named after. Bobby Jean is a player after a fine run at Listowel but the lack of pace in this may not play to her strengths.
My preference is for a pair of Halford horses in a race where he runs four. I've written about my belief that Castle Guest is better over a mile here before and there's no need to restate that now; the form of his last win here worked out with Aspen Mountain winning well since and his fifth place over Irish Champions Weekend was an excellent run considering the trip was too far and his jockey made a premature move to get him involved in the race. Katiymann is a bit darker but the handicapper has given him a chance in dropping him five pounds from his initial mark and the return to softer ground should suit; he was too keen to do himself justice last time.
1 Point Back Jane's Memory @ 7.26/1 or bigger in the Curragh 15:55
1 Point Place Back Jane's Memory @ 2.35/4 or bigger in the Curragh 15:55
1 Point Back Soie D'Leau @ 12.011/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:30
1 Point Back Sahreej @ 15.014/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:30
1 Point Back Toe The Line @ 7.87/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:05
1 Point Place Back Toe The Line @ 2.35/4 or bigger in the Curragh 17:05
0.5 Point Back Castle Guest @ 12.011/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:35
0.5 Point Back Katiymann @ 16.015/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:35
Flat Season P+L: +7.1 points