With works at the track ongoing, the Curragh concluded their 2017 racing season a fortnight back and Naas has been one of the chief beneficiaries, picking up this afternoon's Beresford Stakes card along with the flat finale in November. Fixtures like this were often lost in the cavernous stands of the old Curragh so are likely to work at least as well at the smaller venue where there is always an atmosphere with the novelty factor of races being rehomed only going to add to that.
Naas 14:30 - Godolphin Grey can build on Debutante promise
Mary Tudor stands out as the filly with both the best form and most potential and her being a maiden seems to have inflated her price somewhat. Following a promising debut at Cork, she was an excellent third in the Debutante behind Magical and Happily and one could easily make the case she was the best filly on the day. Not only was she the least experienced in the field, she raced too keenly in rear off an ordinary gallop and travelled best into the race only for the first and second to have gotten first run.
Her trainer Willie McCreery has some depth among his juvenile fillies with Liquid Amber also on his team while this ground and trip should be ideal. With a few horses that like to make the running engaged, there should be no repeat of the slow pace of last time. She has significantly more upside than the exposed Ballydoyle pair and her biggest dangers could prove the UK raiders Juliet Foxtrot and Ellthea.
Naas 15:00 - Stars Over The Sea can find holes in the rest
Renneti and Wild Irish Rose may be the most talented runners in the field but neither is particularly genuine, the former earning the Timeform squiggle over jumps and the latter carrying her head awkwardly all season. Stars Over The Sea is more reliable and has done well since arriving with Henry De Bromhead while he also possesses some good handicap form when trained by Mark Johnston. There's a distinct possibility he gets left alone in the lead here and though the ground is softer than ideal for him, it was encouraging that he handled it pretty well as a juvenile hurdler.
Naas 15:30 - Top-weight Spiorad to enjoy drop in trip
As one might expect, there is plenty of dead weight in this auction race and it isn't difficult to narrow the field down to a handful of meaningful contenders. Would You Believe is one of those but I am less keen on Swiss Cottage and Apple Anni who could struggle with this drop in trip.
Spiorad Saoirse is another stepping back in distance but the way he travels suggests he should cope with it; at Galway, he went strongly through the race and should have beaten the decent Quizical further as that one got first run on him. He patently didn't stay having raced keenly behind Warm The Voice at Listowel last time, shaping like the second best horse. That run came off a break so there could be improvement for fitness with him too. It isn't ideal that he has to give weight away to the whole field but as stated above many of these have to improve plenty to trouble the proven types.
Naas 16:00 - Take a Risk on Flight in the place market
The return of Quiet Reflection is one of the main points of interest on the entire card but she could need this with the main aim being British Champions Day next month. Downforce is a fair alternative, proven on this ground and an unlucky loser at York last time, but he has little in hand on the rest and looks on the short side.
As the outsider of the field, Flight Risk is interesting in the place market. Three wins from 34 career starts is a dismal return for one of his ability but he looks in better form than his recent figures suggest. Following a wildly impressive win on seasonal return, he was twice caught out by being held up in slowly-run races before meeting trouble when travelling well in a Group 3 last time. There is plenty of pace in this with the likes of Alphabet and Only Mine and he proved capable over six furlongs last year, hitting the frame in a number of good races at the Curragh. This stiff track on slow ground should suit and while wining will likely again proven beyond him, a placed effort is distinctly possible.
1.5 Point Back Mary Tudor @ 2.982/1 or bigger in the Naas 14:30
0.5 Point Back Stars Over The Sea @ 6.611/2 or bigger in the Naas 15:00
1 Point Back Spiorad Saoirse @ 10.09/1 or bigger in the Naas 15:30
1 Point Place Back Flight Risk @ 6.05/1 or bigger in the Naas 16:00
2017 P+L: +10.4 points