There's Group 1 action at the Curragh this afternoon and Tony Keenan believes Beckford can give Gordon Elliott a maiden Group 1 win on the flat...
"Beckford looks the best of these in every sense; his win in the Railway Stakes – where he surpassed Coventry form – came in a fast overall time despite the race not being run to in fashion conducive for big figures."
Ryan Moore riding in Ireland isn't the event it once was though the Betfair Ambassador does still confine his trips here to the two main courses at Leopardstown and the Curragh; it would be fun to see him around some of the quirkier tracks like Galway or Ballinrobe but Aidan O'Brien has yet to tempt him west of the Shannon!
No more than with any top rider, his talent and profile means that while he wins a lot of races, his mounts are over-bet in the main. Since 2015, he is 49 wins from 171 rides in Ireland for a high strikerate of 28.7% but a level-stakes loss of 36.44 points and an actual over expected of 0.83. Looking at today's card, I'm hoping he's on a few runners that are under-priced which should create value among the others.
From what we've seen thus far, the strength in the Ballydoyle juveniles lies among the fillies and Gustav Klimt; Aidan O'Brien seems not to have a topper over this six-furlong trip and his challenge for the Phoenix Stakes is more quantity that quality. The four O'Brien runners could create a race that presents challenges in-running for Beckford but I suspect he will have the ability to overcome them provided he handles this fast ground which he is bred to do.
Beckford looks the best of these in every sense; his win in the Railway Stakes - where he surpassed Coventry form - came in a fast overall time despite the race not being run to in fashion conducive for big figures. His sectional times are equally impressive and along with that he has the most potential in the field. The markets seems not to give respect Gordon Elliott as much on the flat - which makes sense - but the horse and trainer have done everything right so far and he should be shorter for this.
Washington DC just about sets the standard in the Phoenix Sprint but a return of five wins from 22 runs confirms that his good runs tend to come when placing rather than winning. Furthermore, his peak effort in 2017 - the second to Marsha in the Palace House - hasn't worked out as well as it might have. His stablemate Intelligence Cross has possibilities now that he has dropped back into a grade more commensurate with his abilities but you have to wonder if recent pace-making efforts have soured him while sectional times from Simon Rowlands suggest he had a very hard race in Deauville seven days ago.
The most reliable horse in the field seems to be Kimberella. Though perhaps better known for his all-weather exploits, he has found improvement and consistency for the move to Richard Fahey this year. His third in a Musselburgh handicap under a big weight in June suggested he was well up to winning listed and group races and that was backed up by an unlucky third behind Koropick (re-opposes on worse terms today) in the Chipchase and a win at Chester last time. Unlike his stablemate Mr Lupton who seems to need a strong pace to run at, all races come alike to him and he should be hard to keep out of the frame.
Windsor Beach is the right favourite for the closing mile handicap and he can be rated slightly better than his fifth in the Galway Mile; the ground was on the slow side for him and he probably went too hard in the lead. The form has worked out too with the same horses fighting out the finish of the big seven-furlong handicap later in the week at the same track.
At the prices however, Mr Ormsby looks the pick for a yard that continue in good form. He returned to the fray relatively late this season but has been gradually running into form and was a slightly unlucky loser at Killarney last time when a fast-finishing third after having briefly had to wait for a run. The pair that beat him that day showed up well at Galway and while his sole win came on yielding ground his trainer is adamant he wants it fast. Coming so soon after Galway, this race isn't as competitive as it might be and he looks to have scope off 73.
2 Points Back Beckford @ [2.8] or bigger in the Curragh 15:35
1 Point Back Kimberella @ [8.2] or bigger in the Curragh 16:10
1 Point Place Back Kimberella @ [2.5] or bigger in the Curragh 16:10
1 Point Back Mr Ormsby @ [11.0] or bigger in the Curragh 17:10
1 Point Place Back Mr Ormsby @ [3.1] or bigger in the Curragh 17:10
2017 P+L: -2.2 points