Heavy rain throughout yesterday altered the ground at the Curragh markedly but at least punters know the going is now on the soft side; a more difficult situation than when waiting for weather updates on the day of the meeting to figure out how the surface might ride. The knock-on effect is that the soft ground horses have already been backed in with Success Days an obvious example in the Tattersalls Gold Cup so we have to get a little more creative in terms of finding bets.
Curragh 14:50 - Improving Valour to step up in class
It was a surprise to see Red Label put in quite so short for the Gallinule; he won with a bit in hand last time at Gowran but they went no pace and that would not have suited the pair of slow horses he beat. I'm inclined to distrust that form and nor do I trust Homesman who has looked temperamental on this last two starts. The blinkers might help but his form with Irishcorrespondent was hardly boosted in yesterday's Guineas.
Blinkers seem to have brought about improvement in Act Of Valour who looked good at Roscommon last time and actually finished ahead of Homesman when they met back in April. His trainer is of the view he will handle this ground and a recent entry in the King Edward at Royal Ascot suggests he is showing plenty at home.
Curragh 16:30 - Micras can make an impact of bottom weight
There is hardly another Jennies Jewel in this field like last year though Whiteout has been supported overnight; her form over hurdles this winter would not inspire, however. The consistent Modem is a jumper that could play a part here but Micras down the bottom of the handicap seems more progressive.
Her trainer Pat Fahy reported that he has resolved an issue with her allergies hence a recent win at Clonmel where she shaped better than the nose margin of victory. The mare ceded an awful lot of ground going wide for much of the final part of the race and did well to win in the circumstances with a six pound rise to 70 hardly prohibitive; she was rated 85 when with Andrew Balding in the UK.
Curragh 17:30 - Combine Reckless Endeavour and Valentana against the rest
The closing mile handicap looks the most competitive race on the card but the front three in the betting are opposable: Katiymann won a race that fell apart pace-wise last time, Sea Wolf seems summed up by his mark while Fit For Function may not stay this trip on softened ground.
Reckless Endeavour in the first one I want on side. Having put him up in a listed race seven days ago, he can't go unbacked at bigger odds for a handicap when he has a valid excuse for that run. He got upset in the stalls and consequently missed the break, giving himself no chance from an early stage, and the market seems to have overreacted to a seemingly poor effort. All the points in his favour from last week still apply: he is consistent, handles soft ground and looks on a good mark. The mile may be a little further than ideal but the price compensates.
Valentana is another that the rain will suit and she looked a mare on the up when beating the similarly progressive Gentil J at Roscommon last August with a pair of subsequent winners filling the places. Her final run of 2016 was disappointing but she had had a lot of racing in a short space of time and she shaped with distinct promise on her return at Navan despite finishing second last. She was travelling as well as anything at the two-furlong pole only to be stopped in her run and her jockey soon accepted defeat. Typically one that improves for a run, much better is expected here.
1 Point Back Act Of Valour @ 11.010/1 or bigger in the Curragh 14:50
0.5 Point Back Micras @ 11.521/2 or bigger in the Curragh 16:30
0.5 Point Place Back Micras @ 3.39/4 or bigger in the Curragh 16:30
0.5 Point Back Reckless Endeavour @ 18.017/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:30
0.5 Point Back Valentana @ 17.016/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:30
2017 P+L: -0.25 points