It's all about Punchestown this week but Navan host some good flat racing today (and tomorrow) and Tony Keenan has looked at the afternoon action...
"Voge has benefitted from the handicapper’s annual mark-dropping largesse and is now seven pounds lower than when third at Tipperary on her final start of 2017, an effort that suggested she was well-in off her old mark."
Finding accurate weather forecasts can be a challenge for punters and perhaps Irish punters most of all where the term 'mixed outlook' is the norm. That's just part of living and betting in Ireland but Met Eireann (the Irish Meteorological Service) has done its best to take the guessing out of it with their new website, www.met.ie.
The site now has a detailed seven-day forecast for locations all over the country and most importantly for the 26 racetracks so those forecasts will be good for not only Punchestown next week but also less high-profile courses like Tramore and Wexford. And given how much better the models for predicting weather have gotten in the last decade, they will probably be accurate too!
They predicted around three millimetres of rain overnight ahead of Navan this afternoon which might actually help the participants as the last thing they want to be do is race on really tacky ground that has been drying for most of the week.
Navan 14:40 - Different League to step up for Ballydoyle switch
Both Sioux Nation and Fleet Review were good juvenile sprinters but soft ground may not be ideal; the former in particular looked ill-at-ease on it at two. There is no such issue with Different League who has claims to have the best form in any case on her second to Clemmie in the Cheveley Park where she travelled better than the winner.
The biggest pointer to her however is the most obvious one: she is now getting a massive trainer upgrade to Aidan O'Brien. Matthieu Palussiere did really well with her in 2017 but there are few (if any) trainers who O'Brien isn't an upgrade on and it seems reasonable to expect improvement this season from a filly that is already operating at a high level.
Readiness could be an issue with O'Brien commenting in today's Racing Post that she will 'come on a lot' for this run but he did say the same about Gustav Klimt last week and it might be worth taking a chance on fitness. A small saver on Speak In Colours is also advised though. He was value for more than the winning margin on his last start at Doncaster where he showed some impressive closing sectionals while the slight drop in trip on slower ground should be no issue.
Navan 15:15 - Reduced mark leaves Voge well-handicapped
This could be a good race for a bet with a few of the market leaders dropping back in trip and having a bit to prove as a result. Thiswaycadeaux might be the one that is best-equipped to handle the shorter distance after a strong-travelling seventh at Leopardstown last weekend but that eye-catching effort seems in her price already.
Powersville is interesting with her good form on straight tracks but Voge looks the best-handicapped horse in the field and worth chancing despite not having run since August. She has benefitted from the handicapper's annual mark-dropping largesse and is now seven pounds lower than when third at Tipperary on her final start of 2017, an effort that suggested she was well-in off her old mark. Despite being one of the least experienced in the field, she got within a half-a-length of winning and was racing off the favoured rail to boot. Perhaps she will need this run but the mark of 68 is too good to pass up.
Rest of the card
No bet stands out on the remainder of the card at current odds but it is worth giving a brief run-through of some of the other races. The 15:45 is a good 45-70 with a few of the fancied ones like Doonard Prince, Haqeeba and Aspen Belle having form that ties in with each other and thus are hard to separate. It wouldn't be the greatest surprise if Ecoeye handles this drop in distance given his strong-travelling efforts over further.
Bye Bye Baby looks to have been put in pretty short in the Salsabil at 16:15; it is not that she is a bad filly but she has a penalty and doesn't seem to have a huge amount in hand of the likes of Sizzling, Mary Tudor and Baroness. The lean would be towards Mary Tudor and/or Baroness, the former having good form when third in the Debutante, the latter shaping like the best horse when in front too soon on her final start at Newmarket.
Night Of Power is the right favourite in the 16:50 and would be a bet if drifting; his trainer John Oxx has expressed concerns about him on soft ground before which may filter into the market at some point but both his runs on it suggest he can win off 80. Well Why Not doesn't deserve to be the complete outsider in that race either. In the finale at 17:50, Hareth might be vulnerable reverting to this trip on the flat as he looks a stayer over jumps while Prospectus doesn't win as often as he should. Bibliotheca can win off 60 if she ever puts things together while Vocal Resurgence is on a reasonable mark too.
2018 P+L: -23.6 points
1 Point Back Different League @ 3.9 or bigger in the Navan 14:40
0.5 Point Back Speak In Colours @ 6.05/1 or bigger in the Navan 14:40
1 Point Back Voge @ 7.06/1 or bigger in the Navan 15:15
1 Point Place Back Voge @ 2.35/4 or bigger in the Navan 15:15