Well, the good news was that I managed to go through the card yesterday for a 4,023/1 accumulator. The bad news was I didn't do it, nor did you, and the placepot - which was of course won - paid next to nothing.
We'll make a rare trip across the Irish Sea today, where there's a €30,000 guarantee on the placepot pool, and it could be a fair bit higher than that.
We start with a 2yo maiden at...
2.20 - Leg 1: Very little to go on in the way of form, except for Jim Bolger's Freedom Square, which has run to a similar level on both starts. It's hard to see him improving markedly, and it's hard to see that level being good enough to win even a fair maiden here, so I'm looking at the unraced brigade, and specifically O'Brien's Dove Mountain, and Johnny Murtagh's (yes, that Johnny Murtagh, now training) Beauty's Forte.
A - 1 (Beauty's Forte), 4 (Dove Mountain)
2.50 - Leg 2: This is a pretty bad race, but one horse makes a fair bit of appeal. Royal Empress looks to need six furlongs and fast ground. Under such conditions, her overall record of 324360 becomes 323, the latter three being in a Group 3 contest.
In the context of this race, that reads like an odds on shot's form. She may have needed her first run of the season - a respectable mid-division run in a 25 horse field - and she may have disliked the mammoth herd there. Either way, she'll strip fitter today and she at least cannot be inconvenienced by the smaller field.
Main market rival Wexford Opera's best form has been with give in the ground, and this quicker turf may not be ideal (it was a bad race, for which he received a bad rating, when second - beaten far enough - the last day).
The rest are either unraced or moderate. Or unraced and moderate. There's been no meaningful cash for the unraced ones, so Royal Empress, banker please. Don't let me down, girl!
A - 10 (Royal Empress)
3.20 - Leg 3: A huge field handicap, where Tarrsille and Lake George have an awful lot going for them. They're on A, for sure. This is a race which has only had double-digit odds winners, so it's worth adding some substance with a few - more speculative - others.
Measured Approval won over six on good to firm a couple of years back, and it was a decent run indeed when sixth of 21 last time. He's a B. Indigo Iris is less exposed than most, and is trying fast ground for the first time. He could well improve for it, and has a good bit of placed form already.
And Pierre d'Or was a course and distance winner as a two year old, before running behind Born To Sea in a Listed race here. This is more his level now, and he's well boxed for a prominent racer.
A - 1 (Tarrsille), 6 (Lake George)
B - 5 (Measured Approval), 11 (Pierre d'Or), 15 (Indigo Iris)
3.50 - Leg 4: A nice little race, featuring Dante second/Irish Guineas third, Trading Leather; and UAE Derby winner/Kentucky Derby 7th, Lines Of Battle. The 'local' form is with the first named, and I'll take a chance on him as a banker. Either of those last two runs would see him in the frame here, and this trip looks ideal.
A - 8 (Trading Leather)
4.20 - Leg 5: Really tricky, this one. The best level of form - as indicated by the highest handicap mark - is Beach Of Falesa. But that mark of 89 does look a bit harsh, and she's thoroughly exposed compared to some of these, and she has the trainer's daughter (I assume), claiming ten, on board. No thanks.
More attractive to me is four-timer-seeking Valbucca. She's been progressive in that sequence of wins, and there could be more to come, though she might need them to go a fair lick early.
Favourite is Kerisa, a filly that needs to show she acts on fast ground. She probably does, and is included on that basis, but she's not a cert so to do. Maggie Dalton on the other hand, is a cert to act on the ground, as she won here over course, distance and going last time. That was only her second start and further improvement would make her a decent place wager at least.
Sho Girl and Majenta both have typo's in their names, and both have improved less from first to second start than Maggie Dalton. Both are overlooked for these reasons (mainly the second one, you'll be relieved to hear).
A - 2 (Valbucca), 4 (Maggie Dalton), 7 (Kerisa)
4.50 - Leg 6: Ah, the old Achilles heel to close. A three year old handicap. Mourani tries faster ground for the first time, and will try to lead from trap to line. It's possible he can do that, and I won't be ignoring him. But nor will I be banking there.
Plinth will take a lot of the pool and, while it might be reckless to ignore on that basis alone, it's merely ballsy to exclude on the basis that he has a major weight turnaround to overcome with Mourani, and doesn't look well handicapped.
Willie Mullins has plenty of winners on the flat, and his Levanto has progressed with each run to date. I'm not convinced he'll want this ground, though, and am going to side against him too on that basis.
There's money further down the lists for the trio of Tooreen Legend, Todd and Zarkiyr, and in what might be a bugger's muddle of a race, I'm interested in all three. The first named showed his best form when winning a distance and going race last time; Todd also improved markedly when stepped up to this sort of trip the last day, though still has to show he's effective on fast turf; and, Zarkiyr is unexposed and runs in a handicap for the first time.
Leaving two out of the first three in the betting gives me a slightly uneasy feeling, but I suspect this is a race with more depth than many today. As such, it's worth taking a punt in that manner.
A - 5 (Mourani), 7 (Tooreen Legend)
B - 6 (Zarkiyr), 9 (Todd)
Just A's - 2 x 1 x 2 x 1 x 3 x 2 = 24 bets
All picks - 2 x 1 x 5 x 1 x 3 x 4 = 120 bets
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