Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
Focus of Attention finds herself well named here, and Joseph O’Brien’s filly could well prove a class apart. A 5f maiden winner for Eddie Lynam at Down Royal in September, she clearly handles the mud, but ran right up to her best on good ground when starting out for O’Brien at Navan last month despite racing against the unfavoured far rail. Donnacha O’Brien takes over from apprentice Shane Crosse, and the Intense Focus filly should do better with that outing under her belt.
Tip: Back Focus of Attention @ 3/1
Feisty Katerina could be the value call in this 7f handicap. Brendan Duke’s charge, like her dam, seems to be best on a sound surface, and all her runs on good or quicker ground have been creditable. She will be easy to back here coming off a lesser effort at Sligo, but that came with a fair degree of ease in the ground, and the evidence to date is that she simply doesn’t handle ground softer than good. This is her trip (faded late over 1m at Leopardstown in May, but wasn’t beaten far), and she appears fairly treated.
Tip: Back Feisty Katerina @ 10/1
Could It Be Love looks nap material in the Brownstown having run a huge race in defeat in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, her third behind Expert Eye coming despite the fact that she was largely responsible for forcing an overly strong pace there. She clearly bounces off fast ground, and with Lincoln Rocks out of sorts at present, she has a gilt-edged opportunity to make all the running.
Tip: Back Could It Be Love @ 4/5 (NAP)
Smiling Eliza beat Baba Boom at Navan last month, and while the runner-up has improved markedly to score since, that’s also true to some degree of Gordon Elliott’s filly, and she can meet her old rival on 3lb better terms here. Despite that, she’s expected to be overlooked in the market, with the early prices suggesting Smiling Eliza will play second fiddle, not only to Baba Boom, but also to Curragh flop Far Reach. Most of these are unexposed and open to further improvement, but the selection finished a fine fourth in the Apprentice Derby at the Curragh last time, and that appears to be the strongest form any of these can muster.
Tip: Back Smiling Eliza @ 5/1