Curragh Sunday: Valor the Better Part of Discretion in Phoenix Sprint5 min read
“The better part of valor is discretion”, said the battle-shy Falstaff in Henry IV, but you don’t get preferential odds by pretending to be dead in this business.
13:55 Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden
It’s notable that Michael O’Callaghan’s two-year-old winners this season have come with debutants, and his Carbon Fibre takes the eye despite what is just a fair pedigree. His sales price rose markedly earlier this year, and it looks significant that his savvy handler has given him an entry in York’s Gimcrack Stakes later this month. He won’t need to be a superstar to be competitive here, with only Rockview Spirit having solid form, and along with fellow newcomer Nitro Boost, he looks capable of playing a big part on his racecourse bow.
Back Carbon Fibre @
14:25 Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Irish European Breeders Fund Maiden
This is a very weak affair for the track, and the form pick Ajmera is returning from a break on faster ground than she is used to, and at a trip which looks plenty sharp enough given how she has been staying on over 6f in previous races. That makes Run The Day look the likeliest winner, but he’s not exactly a bundle of speed himself, doing his best work at the finish when third at Bellewstown, and it makes more sense trying to find one who can get to the front early and hopefully stay there. The likeliest candidate for that role is Astrospeed, who made the running when third to a couple of subsequent winners over C&D in June before pulling hard under restraint next time. With a tongue tie fitted now, I hope he will be given his head, and he could be hard to peg back if setting a pace to suit himself rather than the hold-up horses.
Back Astrospeed e/w @
15:00 Loder Irish European Breeders Fund Fillies
This is a cracking contest given it doesn’t hold stakes status, and the likeliest winner is perhaps the newcomer Pink Dogwood, representing Aidan O’Brien, and this full-sister to Irish Derby winner Latrobe will be popular with punters. She might be very special, but Sheila Lavery’s filly Lady Kaya sets a decent standard on her third over 6f here in June, when doing well to close down a useful pair who had the run of things from the front. Like the O’Brien filly, she is entered in both the Debutante and Moyglare Stud Stakes, and is clearly well above average. If staying this trip, she will give the others plenty to think about, and her experience means that she’s worth backing against the likely favourite given the expected prices. Fulminate is another promising sort from a tremendous family (dam was second in the St Leger, and granddam won the 1000 Guineas), to make this a compelling contest on paper.
Back Lady Kaya @
15:35 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes
It’s the race of the day, but it’s not easy to choose between the Coventry second Advertise and third Sergei Prokofiev, who was just a neck behind at Ascot after a poor run through, and the pair should dominate. They are price accordingly, however, and preference for the latter is only marginal in what is essentially a toss-up.
Back Sergei Prokofiev @
16:10 Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes
Spirit of Valor is a confident shout to land the big sprint of the day, and his run in the Greenlands Stakes here earlier in the season gives him the beating of the field on various collateral form lines. He’s run creditably in better races since, but seems best when able to dominate from the start, so the drop in class against a mundane bunch should see him end a barren run. Smash Williams was behind him in the Greenlands, but is pretty consistent these days, and could be the one to chase the selection home, for those who like to play the exotics.
Tip: Back Spirit of Valor to win @