Aidan O'Brien trained a lot of winners in the last two days - there was the Clemmie/Roly Poly double on Friday, Gustav Klimt yesterday and a treble on the Irish Oaks card - but the one that really mattered got away. Caravaggio in the July Cup was the great stallion hope for Coolmore, unbeaten and by Scat Daddy, but could manage only fourth.
Perhaps the gallop wasn't strong enough - his pacemaker Intelligence Cross was beaten little over two lengths - but more than anything he didn't have the pace despite trainer comments about his speed. Going up in trip now seems a viable option but he may need to extend out to a mile as there are no real prestige races, at least with stallion-making in mind, over seven furlongs with the Prix de la Foret a possible exception. Running at eight furlongs could bring him into conflict with Churchill, in terms of planning their races if nothing else, and they both need to get back on track with a view to becoming star sires.
The first nursery of the season brings together the usual batch of juveniles that look harshly treated by the handicapper with Golden Spell and Deep Breath two that could fall into that category. The mark of 70 awarded to Navajo Dreamer looks lenient however, both of her last two runs suggesting she is better than that. Those runs coincided with the application of blinkers and she did well to take fourth in a decent Fairyhouse maiden from a bad draw on her penultimate start before looking a slightly unlucky loser at Limerick when briefly caught for a gap in a slowly-run race. She is worth a small bet win and place.
As Group 2s go, this is a poor one. Turret Rocks sets the standard with a mark of 107 but in truth she has little in hand of the rest and her Group 1 third last time came in a race where quite a few underperformed. Laganore was fifth in that same race and this nine furlong trip might be her optimum but temperament seems to have crept in with her lately.
Absolute Blast looks a big price relative to that pair. That could be down to a below-par effort in Germany last time but soft ground was all against her and her runs on the all-weather this spring put her right in the mix. It is a her Epsom second to Laugh Aloud, a potential Group 1 filly, that really stands out however. The third from that race has since won a listed race and Absolute Blast seemed ill-at-ease on the track so can be rated better than the form.
The outsider Sea Swift is another to bet small. Despite her stable being quiet, she has been running well lately, shaping much better than her seventh-place finish at Roscommon last Monday as she simply doesn't get 12 furlongs, trading at [2.78] in the run. This unusual race distance is probably her optimum - she split Somehow and Laganore over it back in April - and it is all about the trip with her.
The three-year-olds Spirit Of Valor and Mubtasim ran well in the Jersey but they did look flattered by being drawn low and those career-best efforts are hard to trust; I would like to see it again from both horses. The five-year-old Dutch Connection is a much more reliable option, his record over seven furlongs reading:113121, and while this is apparently a tune-up for the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood there was more than enough in his sixth-place finish in the Queen Anne to say he can cope with these.
Groundfrost has proven a little frustrating since arriving in Ireland, often finishing with running to give in her races, but her closing sectional time her over Derby Weekend when also meeting trouble in running suggests she is a well-handicapped filly if she can put it together. This race is weaker than the one she contested last time and while New Terms should enjoy this step up in trip, Groundfrost looks the best treated in the field.
0.5 Point Back Navajo Dreamer @ [7.2] or bigger in the Curragh 14:35
0.5 Point Place Back Navajo Dreamer @ [2.2] or bigger in the Curragh 14:35
1.5 Point Back Absolute Blast @ [7.6] or bigger in the Curragh 15:10
0.5 Point Back Sea Swift @ [13.5] or bigger in the Curragh 15:10
1 Point Back Dutch Connection @ [3.4] or bigger in the Curragh 15:45
1 Point Back Groundfrost @ [5.0] or bigger in the Curragh 16:15
2017 P+L: +5.9 points