Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Weld's Rose a big price for feature handicap

Dermot Weld Moyglare silks
Will the famous Moyglare silks of Sorelle Delle Rose be carried to success in the Irish Lincolnshire on Sunday?

Alan Dudman steps in for Tony Keenan this weekend, and he has a number of selections for the start of the Irish Flat season at Naas and the feature at Downpatrick on Sunday...

"I thought she travelled very well from 90 in a race at Gowran Park last term, and she's off 85 today. She has a low draw in 4 and handles heavy ground well. She looks better than an 85 filly, so hopefully Weld's horses can start the campaign better than 12 months ago."

Back Sorelle Delle Rose win @ 17.50 and place @ 4.10in the 16:50 at Naas

15:55 Downpatrick - Elliott to revive fortunes of Out Sam

The feature jumps' race of the weekend is the Ulster National over near-enough 3m5f, and we have the one-two from last year's renewal. Twelve months ago the race was on good ground and threw up the fairytale victory of Anseanachai Cliste - it looks as though Sunday's version will be in more testing conditions.

Will we ever leave the soft ground behind?

Initially I looked at my old friend Wounded Warrior (whom I backed for the Grand National at some big prices - result: pulled up). But he puts in too many bad ones despite looking attractively handicapped from 133. He is interesting on his second in the Thyestes earlier in the season, but the bad far outweighs the good with him. He was well beaten just two weeks ago.

You don't need me to tell you about the magic of Gordon Elliott following Cheltenham, and he's always a man to be feared in these staying chases.

Elliott can revive the chances of Out Sam here, who looked a decent horse in his younger days with Warren Greatrex. He was at one stage a fair candidate for the RSA with the Lambourn yard, but his jumping seemed to hold him back a little.

However, he's a strong stayer who is well-handicapped on his old hurdles' rating, and I like the angle of the new headgear for Sunday. He wore cheekpieces for the first time in 2016 at Kempton and ran quite well, and with just three runs for the Elliott yard thus far, he can improve on what we have seen so far.

13:55 Naas - The Flat season starts here

Backing in 2yo races isn't for everyone. Backing in 2yo races when they are all making their debuts narrows the number down to even less. I am not having a bet, nor advising one, but this contest produced Dawn Approach in 2012 so we can expect a bit of quality.

Jim Bolger trained Dawn Approach (when winning this at the Curragh), and Bolger along with Kevin Prendergast have three winners each in this from 2009.

I have no idea how forward some of these will be, but I will look out for Joza for Adrian Paul Keatley. His mother won on debut and was a quick 2yo, and she's also a half-sister to Swiss Lake. There's plenty of pace in the pedigree and looks an early type, but the race is a bit of a lottery in terms of having a bet.

14:30 Naas - Big trainers out for maiden

Twenty were declared for this 6f maiden at the time of writing, and all the big stables are represented. So if you thought the previous race was tricky.....

Once again it's a no bet, but it's worth nothing that Alphabet won this for Aidan O'Brien last year when rated just 75. However, she was one of the ex-David Wachman improvers and made all from stall 10 to pick up the prize very easily.

O'Brien has Hence in the race, but she has the weight of a hefty price tag here. She cost an eye-popping 2.1 million guineas and was turned over in a Dundalk race as a juvenile. She traded at 1.071/14 in the run there which offers food for thought, and that Dundalk contest is traditionally a good race.

I like the pedigree of John Oxx's filly Redhawk, and she makes her debut. She has a couple of relations that were fairly early types; and her half-sister won on debut. However, I won't be getting involved.

15:05 Naas - Down to show his force

Betting opportunities are fairly thin on the ground for the opening two races at Naas and the rest of the Downpatrick card, but I like the shape of this 6f handicap - and backing a horse who goes well fresh is the way to go here.

Step forward Downforce - who has won twice on seasonal debut, and he also seems to relish testing ground. I looked at the race on Friday with heavy in the going description, and he stood out as a horse who loves to get his toe in.

He does seem quite ground-dependant, so hopefully the deeper the better for him on Sunday. He landed a Listed race at Cork last term and bolted up over 6f (today's trip), but he also stays 7f really well.

As the top weight here from 109, this will have to be a pretty smart performance to win this. But he progressed from handicaps into Group company last term, and also has Nathan Crosse claiming 7lb off his back.

15:40 Naas - Madrid Handicap stepping stone for Classic glory?

The 2016 winner of the Madrid Handicap was Awtaad - who went on to land the Irish 2,000 Guineas. He won this race from 95 two seasons ago by five lengths, and the only horse that has the potential to emulate that with a similar profile is London Icon. But he's a pretty obvious one looking at the betting, and at 7/4 in the Sportsbook, he isn't really my sort of price.

The 3yo Elzaam colt ran in a very hot Curragh maiden last summer. London Icon finished third in that behind Gobi Desert - who in turn won at Listed level. The third from the race is rated 111 these days, and there were a couple of Aidan O'Brien eyecatchers in behind.

London Icon subsequently picked up a maiden with ease (by five lengths) last October, and he looks an exciting prospect. So does his mark; he makes his handicap debut in this from 91 and holds an Irish 2,000 entry. He could potentially be a lot better than that rating (especially on that debut run).

It is a big ask to be the next Awtaad, but his maiden was over 1m and he drops down to 7f. He has plenty in his favour.

16:15 Naas - Bolger's tough filly can be the star

The feature on the card is the Group 3 Park Express for fillies and mares, and it involves three that finished first, second and fourth at the track in last term's Listed Garnet Stakes. The trio are Elegant Pose, Making Light and Panstarr - and they are likely to head the betting between them.

However, I am going to chance a play on Panstarr here to reverse the form. Although with seven runners and a couple of outsiders up against it in terms of form, it isn't an each-way race.

Clearly Making Light is very classy, and rightly so with a three-figure rating. But Jim Bolger's Panstarr was a really tough so-and-so last term and progressed well. She didn't race as a juvenile, but made up for lost time with 11 runs in 2017 and she competed in some tough handicaps. Indeed, she picked up a valuable one at the Curragh from 88 and made the running there. Brave too.

She also shares a similar profile to a couple of of Bolger's previous winners of this in recent seasons. Oh Goodness Me and Rehn's Nest had plenty of experience prior to winning this Group 3, and both were horses that stayed a little further (in the case of the former it was 1m4f).

Panstarr looks like she'll stay a trip far in advance of today's 1m, and I am hoping Kevin Manning can make this a proper test in the ground against two very classy fillies. There is every chance she can improve again given her excellent campaign last term, and she looks an obvious back-to-lay sort of bet.

16:50 Naas - Weld to start the season on a high

The marvellous Brendan Bracken won the Irish Lincolnshire 12 months ago, and crucially for draw-watchers; the top six in the race came from 3, 8, 1, 2, 5 & 4. The "double B" came up the inside last year, and it's important to have a handy position before the turn to attack.

Working with a low number, Dermot Weld's Sorelle Delle Rose interests me at a fairly decent price. For a start she was a minor highlight in a wretched campaign for the trainer. His horses never seemed right for a large chunk of the 2017 season, but he might just have a few well-handicapped horses for these sorts of contests following some of their runs.

She won a couple of races, but I get the feeling there's a bit more to come from her. After winning last term, Weld marked her down as one potentially for a Premier Handicap.

I thought she travelled very well from 90 in a race at Gowran Park last term, and she's off 85 today. She has a low draw in 4 and handles heavy ground well. She looks better than an 85 filly, so hopefully Weld's horses can start the campaign better than 12 months ago. The selection also won first-time-out last season, so we know she goes well fresh.

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