Like most punters, I’ve spent much of the last week engaged in a guessing game about what would run over Irish Champion Weekend. Potential stallion careers were considered alongside possible avoidance tactics while there was a healthy dose of weather- and going-related speculation too.
Ultimately, it was a complete waste of time as Aidan O’Brien has simply decided to run everything and has done all within his power to uphold the status of the weekend. The jockeys associated with Ballydoyle will be delighted as no less than six riders will get rides for the yard over the next two days, Padraig Beggy and Michael Hussey taking mounts along with the more obvious quartet of Ryan Moore, Seamie Heffernan, Wayne Lordan and Donnacha O’Brien.
Leopardstown 16:35 – Unexposed Boy the value pick in Petingo Handicap
Plenty in here have chances, notably Snow Falcon, Sea The Lion and Machine Learner, but at the prices Daybreak Boy is the pick. After just four starts, he is the most unexposed runner in the field and there has been plenty to like in both his starts as a four-year-old. The first run came off a break against faster horses over a mile at Gowran where he did well to finish fourth despite conceding weight all around before a conditions race win at Fairyhouse when he had more in hand than the winning margin of half a length. The runner-up there was Fiesole who has thrived all summer so the form looks solid and quotes of [19.0] plus are generous.
Leopardstown 17:35 – Persuasive case to oppose Winter
Winter is the best filly in the Matron but not by quite as much as the market suggests and this might be the spot to get her beaten; her trainer reports that she missed time after Goodwood with a bruised foot which could be enough to bring her back to the field. Roly Poly has been 1B to Winter’s 1A in recent starts but sectional times suggest she had the run of things in the Prix Rothschild last time and both Qemah and Persuasive can be expected to get closer now.
It is the latter that makes most appeal; not only did she beat Qemah in this race last year despite racing on the less-favoured inner rail but she also went to Deauville without a run since the previous September. Things didn’t go her way on the day as she travelled well before meeting trouble and wasn’t given a hard time in the finish. Further rain won’t be a problem and John Gosden continues to overachieve with his Irish runners.
Leopardstown 19:20 – UK raiders vulnerable to Silverkode and Texas Rock
The recent historical record of UK handicappers in Ireland has been well-documented, not least in relation to this meeting, but their poor 2017 record in this regard is worth pointing out; of the 41 UK-trained runners in Irish handicaps this year, there has been only one winner, Dream Walker at Galway. After the defection of Stamp Hill, we are left with three UK raiders in the Sovereign Path but while they are coming into the race in good form, none are particularly easy to win with and all have gone up in the weights for recent placed efforts.
None of that group has anything like the scope of Silverkode who is a deserving favourite and worth backing at around [6.0]. He is simply a horse that does everything right; he travels and quickens and seems to handle any ground. Both sectional and overall times suggest his last victory leaves him well-treated off 99 while that form has been boosted by both St Brelades Bay and Elusive Time.
The other one to keep onside is the top-weight Texas Rock. Seven furlongs is just his thing, his figures over the trip since the start of 2016 reading:32231412 and his recent second at the Curragh was notably good on the clock with the form again working out as the third Canary Row won a listed race soon afterwards. That run came off a break so there could be improvement in him for fitness and while the argument could be made that he is too high in the weights the counter-view is that he is a listed horse running in a handicap under his optimum conditions.
0.5 Point Back Daybreak Boy @ [19.0] or bigger in the Leopardstown 16:35
0.5 Point Place Back Daybreak Boy @ [5.2] or bigger in the Leopardstown 16:35
1 Point Back Persuasive @ [8.2] or bigger in the Leopardstown 17:35
1 Point Place Back Persuasive @ [2.4] or bigger in the Leopardstown 17:35
1.5 Point Back Silverkode @ [6.4] or bigger in the Leopardstown 19:20
1.5 Point Place Back Silverkode @ [2.2] or bigger in the Leopardstown 19:20
1 Point Back Texas Rock @ [18.0] or bigger in the Leopardstown 19:20
1 Point Place Back Texas Rock @ [5.0] or bigger in the Leopardstown 19:20
2017 P+L: -5 points
Source:: Betfair — Irish Horse