it's not top-class action at Gowran Park today but Tony Keenan has found three horses that look overpriced...
"Expreso Brasileiro finally gets his optimum conditions of seven furlongs and decent ground – Willie McCreery vowed never to run him on firm after last time – and really should have won last time when conceding first run to the enterprisingly ridden Great Wide Open, who re-opposes today."
Irish trainers had a record ten Royal Ascot winners this week, finally getting off the plateau of eight they'd been stuck on for years, but my performance of the week came from the American mare Tepin who beat a representative field in the Queen Anne with plenty against her. There will be nothing of that level at Gowran this afternoon with classy horses thin on the ground though that is understandable given this card is in the twilight zone between Royal Ascot and the Irish Derby Meeting next weekend.
Gowran Park 15:15 - Take the Expreso to a winner
Expreso Brasileiro is threatening to become a cliff horse if he hasn't already reached that point but still appeals as the best-handicapped in this field and is a worthy favourite at 6.25/1. He finally gets his optimum conditions of seven furlongs and decent ground - Willie McCreery vowed never to run him on firm after last time - and really should have won last time when conceding first run to the enterprisingly ridden Great Wide Open, who re-opposes today. Cautious punters (of which I am one!) might like to be put in a short lay-in-running for insurance as he has traded at 2.26/5 and 1.011/100 the last twice.
Of the rest, Zalty and Master Speaker are vastly more frustrating than the selection while Canary Row could get caught out by this sharp seven furlongs and his mark sums him up now. Handicap debutante Mizaah should prove the biggest danger.
Gowran Park 15:45 - Arch Sting can break Oxx duck
This is a winnable maiden which is a polite way of saying it's a bad race but, even in light of that, Schubert looks a dubious favourite. He hasn't matched his juvenile form this season and the step up to a mile last time didn't bring the anticipated improvement and furthermore he looked temperamental in the finish. Cheekpieces will need to have a remedial effect on him now.
You can make tentative cases for Changed Times and Big Country but their connections might have an eye on handicaps and perhaps Arch Sting can provide John Oxx with a first winner of the season, a situation that would have been barely credible up until a year or two ago. His all-weather run splitting Kadra and Qatari Hunter is decent form in this context and he travelled well in a better maiden than this on his return, form that has generally worked out.
Gowran Park 17:45 - Weld can continue good run with Ashraf
The closing conditions event can be quickly cut down to a two horse race with Round Two having to prove that he has trained on and can stay the trip, Bold Thady Quill much better suited by big field handicaps and Inis Meain completely out of form.
Bravery deserves to be favourite but there is a good chance he was flattered by his Irish Guineas fourth where half the field didn't handle the ground and I prefer Ashraf at the prices. Dermot Weld is having an excellent season and does quite well in these spots; since 2010, his runners in conditions races coming off three months break or more are 17 from 50 with a level stakes profit of 1.61 points and an actual over expected of 1.02.
Ashraf's fourth in the Trigo Stakes last backend is decent form and he was better than it too as his jockey rushed him into the race far too soon. That effort seems to have fooled connections into thinking he was miler and they ran him in the Irish Lincoln next time where he ran no race but he was notably strong in the market that day. Gelded since, he is worth another chance to build on earlier promise.
1 Point Back Expreso Brasileiro @ 6.25/1 or bigger in the Gowran Park 15:15
1 Point Place Back Expreso Brasileiro @ 2.111/10 or bigger in the Gowran Park 15:15
1 Point Back Arch Sting @ 4.1 or bigger in the Gowran Park 15:45
1 Point Back Ashraf @ 5.24/1 or bigger in the Gowran Park 17:45
Flat season P+L: +5.6 points