Updated 9.55 - all selections online.
The Black-type contests at the Curragh on Sunday are of limited interest to me having looked through them – the horses I like are well found in the market and it’s not easy crafting an angle, whereas there are a couple in the handicaps which look to have more chance than the market would indicate, starting with the progressive MIACOMET in the Alan Kavanagh Family & Friends Support Handicap at 3:50.
Jack Davison’s daughter of Dandy Man has been improving through the grades and has developed an excellent record when the ground is softer than good, and since showing up well in a 30-runner handicap here in May, her record on easy ground reads 23213, with three of the placed efforts here, including at this trip.
She took another step forward when winning over 5f at Cork 12 days ago, and was a lot better than the bare result when third off this mark at Navan last time, the race dominated by those who raced prominently towards the far side, while Miacomet unusually missed the kick and had only one rival behind after 100 yards.
She was hopelessly placed in view of how the race played out, but made relentless headway in the final two furlongs to finish a clear third. Had she got away on terms, she would have given winner Aleef plenty to think about as she had when winning at Cork.
That race bears watching again as she had to work hard to get to the front, but when she did get there, immediately pricked her ears and pulled herself up. She was helped by the draw at Cork (first three came from 16,17 & 18 in a 20-runner race), but won with much more authority than the ½-length margin, and she was not well berthed at Navan.
She seems a really robust filly who keeps a little in reserve, and although this represents her third run in October, I’d like to think she’ll cope well with her busy schedule. The return to a longer trip is no negative based on the way she’s shaped the last twice, and she just needs a target to take her deep into the race before pouncing late.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the exciting talent of Dylan Browne McMonagle, and the 16-year-old Donegal native has ridden a remarkable 218 winners on the pony-racing circuit. He’s now attached to the Joseph O’Brien yard where he can claim 10lb – for the time being – and he’s already proving a punters’ pal having ridden a 20/1 winner for his new boss from a handful of rides since making his debut under Rules just over a fortnight ago.
He throws his leg over SHAKESPEARE’SGALLEY in the Irish Cesarewitch at 4:25, and the four-year-old has a better chance than the odds compilers seem to think. An impressive course and distance winner off a 5lb lower mark in June, he’s been dropped in the weights for two subsequent defeats, the first when trying to concede 12lb to subsequent Lonsdale Stakes third Il Paradiso.
That was an impossible task especially after the winner and Brazos had poached a ten-length advantage in the first couple of furlongs, and the selection deserves great credit for finishing second. Had he simply beaten Trossachs by 3½ lengths, he’d be going up in the handicap, not down.
He was unplaced in the amateur riders’ handicap at Galway, but wasn’t at all disgraced in a race where he reverted to prominent tactics only for the hold-up horses to be favoured. That may also have come too soon just eight days after his course and distance effort behind Il Paradiso, and I still believe that he is leniently treated on form.
The trouble with this race is that there are at least half a dozen others who are ahead of their mark, so he’s not a confident call, but he’s no 33/1 shot by my reckoning. I’d prefer to back him ¼ odds four places than take an extra place at worse terms, but each to their own.
At Limerick, PROGRESS DRIVE may be worth chancing win-only in the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National (4:35) despite two desperate efforts this year since wind surgery.
As a result, he has dropped to a lenient mark, and this mud-lover will relish conditions, so the gamble is whether a switch to Gavin Cromwell will revive the son of Stowaway. It’s not hard to envisage a change of regime working the oracle, but I think it’s best to back him on the nose given he’s got such a patchy profile.
Rory's Best Bets (scale 1-5 points):
1pt each-way MIACOMET (6-1 Betfair Sportsbook, bet365, Paddy Power, William Hill, 11-2 general)
1pt each-way SHAKESPEARE’SGALLEY (33-1 Betfair Sportsbook, bet365, Paddy Power, 28-1 William Hill)
1pt win PROGRESS DRIVE (12-1 Betfair Sportsbook, bet365, Paddy Power, Unibet, 11-1 Betfred, Coral, William Hill)