It's a low-key Sunday at Galway and Wexford and Tony Keenan has a horse to back at each track...
"Sassy Diva has failed to win a bumper in five starts but that certainly doesn’t tell the full story as she’s competed exclusively in listed and graded races, hitting the frame in three of them."
So Aidan O'Brien finally broke Bobby Frankel's record yesterday which was great to see and one of the most amusing parts of the post-race interviews was the ITV and ATR presenters probing members of the family about whether they'd be having a celebration afterwards; at various points of the day, Aidan, Annemarie, Joseph and Ana were all questioned on the topic with each in turn responding in the negative!
Needless to say, there will be no party in the sense most would imagine as the O'Briens are about two things: racing and family. The show goes on at Saint-Cloud this afternoon and at Del Mar next weekend though they may enjoy their annual Breeders' Cup break more than the average year.
Annemarie, a huge influence in the whole operation according to anyone worth listening to, may have been nonplussed with questions about a party but the joy and relief in her responses when asked about her daughter Ana's first visit to a racecourse since her fall at Killarney was palpable and put in talk of records and celebrations in stark relief.
The clocks went back last night so the winter season proper gets going today with two national hunt cards at Galway and Wexford though in truth Irish punters will have to wait until Down Royal next weekend for real jumpers to emerge. Today is a day when stakes are best kept to the minimum for me at least.
Calino D'Airy was a good winner over course-and-distance last time and given he seemed completely unfancied there should be more to come. That said, his sectional times and finishing speed percentage suggest he got a soft lead out and the form may not be all it appears.
Uaintseenothingyet was fourth that day and not only was he disadvantaged by the slow pace, he was also having his first run since February 2016. Not given a hard time in the finish, he is pretty close to Calino D'Airy in terms of hurdling ability but was regarded by his trainer as more of a chasing prospect. The concern is that handicaps will be more his thing in time but the price dictates a small bet.
Of the rest, Dont Tell No One is respected but could find this trip on the sharp side while Aint Dunne Yet looked flattered by his second at Tipperary the time before last - he also got a soft lead - and didn't really back it up last time.
Wexford 16:20 - Diva can make breakthrough at sixth attempt
Sassy Diva has failed to win a bumper in five starts but that certainly doesn't tell the full story as she's competed exclusively in listed and graded races, hitting the frame in three of them. The first of those placed efforts came at Gowran last September off a break when she was third to Snow Leopardess who has since gone on to be rated 135 over hurdles; that she ran so well fresh suggests she will be ready off the break today.
She followed that up with a fine third at Navan where she looked the winner when hitting the front two out - trading at 1.11/10 in the run - before chasing home Fayonagh at Fairyhouse when she was the only one to get into the race from off the pace behind the front-running winner. She lacks a run here but it is encouraging that she is out quite early, connections likely taking the view that they will try to win a bumper before going over hurdles, and this is by far the weakest race she has contested thus far.
0.5 Point Back Uaintseenothingyet @ 11.521/2 or bigger in the Galway 13:40
1 Point Back Sassy Diva @ 3.211/5 or bigger in the Wexford 16:20
2017 P+L: +7.4 points