Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Could it be the day Bolger's Twilight wins?

Ryan Moore
There's a Group 3 on the card at Navan on Sunday

A decent Flat card at Navan is the Sunday focus for Alan Dudman, and he looks at the key races for the afternoon...

"The plus points are that he is fit from his Gowran Park run earlier in the month, he stays and this is his ideal sort of trip - especially with a bit of cut that he handles."

Back Twilight Payment @ 10.5019/2 in the 16:15 at Navan

Apprentice puzzle not easy with big field

The track at Navan had 5mm of rain on Friday with further showers forecast for Sunday. There is the possibility of getting soft ground conditions, and I'm selecting a fair few of the bets with that in mind. It's a tricky old card on the Flat, though, and big things are around the corner with Punchestown.

The apprentice race at 14:35 is about as difficult as it gets. Twenty three were declared on Friday in a 0-70, so things aren't exactly easy.

A couple of low-drawn runners should be watched here, but I am stopping short of putting up a bet. The well-handicapped Verhoyen has actually gone up 2lb following a solid run in a similar grade at Naas last time behind Mokhalad. That horse has gone on to run quite well since, and Verhoyen travelled nicely towards the pace from a poor draw.

For Sunday he's berthed in 1, so he can keep his position over the far side. However, he isn't one for maximum faith with a win record of 0-20. He's a fair price at around 9.08/1.

In the same Naas handicap last time in which Verhoyen finished third, I noted the run of Maymine of Richard O'Brien. I'm a fan of the trainer but he has yet to really get going this term.

Maymine should handle any forecast soft ground as he is by Mayson and he is capable from his current mark. He hasn't been with O'Brien long since leaving Paul Cole, but again with the yard form, it slightly tempers the enthusiasm, although he did have a winner on Saturday. He was priced at 25/1 on the Sportsbook last night.

Cava could produce a sparkling performance for Joseph

Aidan O'Brien has really hit top stride with his team of late and the trainer has The Irish Rover and San Andreas for the Listed Committed Stakes at 15:10. The former would hold outstanding claims on his Phoenix Stakes third last term. He made his reappearance in the 2,000 Guineas Trial last time and looked as though he badly needed the run.

I am not sure he wants the ground on the slow side however.

If you are looking for the potential trade as a back-to-lay, Chicago May won the "Birdcatcher" last term at Naas from 82 and goes up in class. She's tough and a front runner with form on good to yielding going. She has a steely determination with the way she races, but she might not have the class of one or two others, but she could certainly offer up the chance of gaining a green book with trading potential.

Joseph O'Brien has a well-above-average filly on his hands with Cava judged on her two runs last term as a juvenile.

Joseph O'Brien Melbourne Cup 1280 .jpg

She looked a decent prospect when winning on debut and like many for O'Brien Jnr, was sent straight up in class for her next start in a Group 3 at the Curragh. She finished third behind So Perfect and Skitter Scatter - and that's an outstanding bit of form, with both going on to boost the race with subsequent runs. So Perfect is rated 110 and is Group 1 class, whilst Skitter Skatter bagged the top level Moyglare.

The trainer struck with a first time filly at Cork earlier in the season and by all accounts, Cimeara looked pretty fit. If Cava is fit to do herself justice, then she is a big player here as she could be better than Listed standard. She hasn't been seen since July, which is a slight negative, but there's nothing wrong with the form of the race at the Curragh.

Strong hand for O'Brien with Pink Dogwood

The Listed Salsabil Stakes should be going to Aidan O'Brien again here with Pink Dogwood - although it's worth mentioning the strength of fillies these days at Ballydoyle. This race is a fine advert for such a wonderful breeding operation. Included in the line-up are full sisters to Irish Derby winner Latrobe and another classy horse in The Pentagon. If you like your pedigrees, you'll enjoy the race

Pink Dogwood looks a player for the Oaks at Epsom, although I reckon we could have seen the winner for that Classic at Sandown on Friday. Sea Of Faith was perhaps the biggest eyecatcher of all time. With that pedigree, connections and trainer, I would certainly be interested in her for Epsom.

Epsom Oaks Aidan O'Brien 1280 .jpg

I digress, and back to Pink Dogwood - who will relish any rain floating about. She loved the heavy ground with her action when bolting up in a Gowran Park maiden last term and gave the impression she will come into her own over middle-distance trips this season. I suspect this 1m2f distance today will be her minimum, and she is well worth her rating of 104 judged on her first two starts in decent Curragh maidens.

She is the pick, but the price doesn't exactly excite. The Ballydoyle handler also has Chablis in the race, who cost 1,550,000 guineas as a yearling. She won on debut and is entered up in everything, but the pick by some way would be Pink Dogwood.

I have outlined the form of Dermot Weld in several preview columns this term, but never seem to get the trainer right despite all of his winners. Weld has Tarnawa for this, and she is race-fit following her reappearance in a Leopardstown race over 1m2f. She looked a stayer there and could do with the extra two furlongs at some point. A well-run contest will suit and she seems to enjoy a bit of cut in the ground.

Tarnawa is also from a fine staying family. She could be one to back at a higher price In-Play.

Twilight can claim some big scalps in Vintage Crop

The feature of the day is the Group 3 Vintage Crop - a race that Aidan O'Brien has dominated in seasons gone by with the likes of Fame And Glory, Leading Light, Bondi Beach and more recently, Order Of St George.

His stayer Capri is the top-rated here at 118 and last ran against the mighty Almond Eye in Japan in November. He won his reappearance last term over an inadequate 1m2f at Naas in the Alleged Stakes, but how fit will he be in terms of a big campaign and maybe more international targets? He's a dual Classic winner with a St Leger and Irish Derby to his name, and ran a cracker in last term's Arc.

Capri 1280 .jpg

He is most certainly the one to beat, but then you don't need me to tell you that.

For the Cup races this term, I really like O'Brien's other runner here - Southern France. I wasn't alone in fancying him for the Cesarewitch last term, and it was a pretty good run from a young horse in a race like that from 107.

He finished third in the Leger and is a big sort who can race lazily, so he's another to think that his big targets are further down the line.

However, I am going to chance the 6yo Twilight Payment. He doesn't win that often and he is a bit of a "nearly horse", but I cannot really fault his attitude. Indeed, he used to bang his head against Order Of St George plenty of times in the past.

The plus points are that he is fit from his Gowran Park run earlier in the month, he stays and this is his ideal sort of trip - especially with a bit of cut that he handles. He does finish second more times than he wins, but it could be his "Cup Final" today against superior horses. I would also like to see him make the running under Kevin Manning (pictured below).

Kevin Manning 1280 .jpg

Millswyn to enjoy new distance back down in class

There are all manner of improving types for the 1m2f handicap at 16:45, although I won't be including Third World this time. I have given him a couple of chances but he disappointed me badly on his first run of the season. He posted an improved effort at Leopardstown recently, but I will give him the swerve despite the blinkers being applied.

Millswyn from a mark of 89 looks worth a small play. He looked like a stayer on his second run last season, and duly delivered soon after in testing conditions in a maiden at Gowran last October. He was outclassed in Group company on his final run, and goes handicapping now.

The new distance of 1m2f should suit, as could any rain around. He was priced up at around 15.014/1 last night on the Exchange.

*Click here to read more news and exclusive interviews ahead of Sunday's racing in Ireland


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