Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
Paddy Twomey has a promising juvenile in the shop window, and the hint should be taken
14:10 Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden
All The King’s Men, a €400,000 yearling by No Nay Never out of Prix de Psyche winner Chaibia is the clear pick of the newcomers on paper, for all it’s not easy to decipher the pecking order when Aidan O’Brien has several runners, but there’s every chance he will need the experience in any case, and would need to be pretty smart to defeat the promising Decrypt in any case. Paddy Twomey is a shrewd operator who can spot a bargain better than most, and the £55,000 he spent on this son of Dark Angel looks great business based on his debut second over track and trip a fortnight ago, when doing well to weave through the field after a slow start. That race wasn’t really run to suit a closer, either, and Decrypts look a potential Royal Ascot contender on what he showed first time up. Twomey did well with a similar type in Van Der Decken a couple of years ago, selling the colt to Godolphin after winning here, and the pinhooking instinct means that this race isn’t just a tidy prize for the owner/trainer, but a shop window as well.
Decrypt @ 15/8
14:45 Treacy Group Supporting Newbridge Parish Handicap
There are some well handicapped horses in here, notably Shore Step, whose last win came off a BHA mark of 89, and is now rated just 61, although a near four-year losing streak is clearly a concern. He almost certainly needed his return at Cork last month, however, and is likely to be on the premises if back to last season’s best, never mind his previous form. He’s preferred to Bay of Skaill, who remains a maiden after nine starts, but was beaten only narrowly on her handicap debut at Cork, and has yet to run a poor race, which suggests she has more to offer, but a low draw in a field of this size is likely to prove her undoing. That remark also applies to Polly Douglas, for all a passage from stall 10 is a little easier to navigate.
Shore Step each-way @ 14/1
15:20 Keadeen Hotel Supporting Newbridge Parish Handicap
This is pretty competitive despite the smaller field, but Rattling Jewel could be a blot on the handicap based on the form of a pair of wins here last year for Nicole McKenna, and the Royal Applause gelding finished with a rattle on his first start for Joseph O’Brien at Naas a month ago. He faces quicker ground here, but that is no concern on past performance, and he should have the race run to suit with Oneoveryou likely to set a strong pace. Richard O’Brien’s mare is better than ever, as she proved when second at Navan last time, but this is not an easy track for front runners, and she needs to do some work to cross her rivals if she’s to bag the stands rail. Nigg Bay comes here having won at Navan last week, but isn’t the easiest of rides, and Denis Linehan got the utmost out of him the last day.
Rattling Jewel @ 2/1
15:55 McDonnell’s Bar June Fest Silver Stakes
Mustajeer is the pick on official figures, but he has looked a revived performer on a soft surface for Ger Lyons, and may prove vulnerable on the forecast ground. A chance is taken on Theobald at likely bigger prices, with Jim Bolger’s colt doing well enough in the context of the race in the Irish 2000 Guineas here last time, racing closer to the pace than was ideal. This looks an easier assignment for the son of Teofilo, and it’s worth remembering that Bolger, along with Dermot Weld, has won this race more than any other trainer, with five victories since its inauguration in 1991.
Theobald @ 5/1
16:30 PG Duffy & Sons Citroen Supporting Newbridge Parish Handicap
Richard O’Brien revived a frustrating character in the shape of That Is The Spirit at Gowran during the week, and he has another talented ex-English performer in the shape of Captain Cat here. The son of Dylan Thomas can look quirky, but is well treated on his best efforts for Tony Carroll, and positively thrown in on the form he once showed for Roger Charlton. A big unit, he has shown his best form on polytrack or fast turf, and bounced back to form when fourth over a mile at Gowran last time. That run suggested he was building up to something more substantial, and O’Brien can nab a decent prize if keeping him sweet, which is probably the key to this nine-year-old.
Captain Cat @ 5/1