There’s a trio of consecutive seven furlong handicaps here at The Curragh and we start with a horse who ticks a plethora of positives. ROUGH DIAMOND hails from the yard of Eddie Lynam who are currently operating at a 30% strike rate in recent weeks. The horse has only raced at The Curragh in his two race career and is yet to finish outside of the top two. He should relish this additional furlong now up in trip and can handle these softer conditions. All things point towards another solid performance and it’s hard to look away from the Mark Enright ridden three year old.
Born Invincible and Youceeyouceecee have been consistent of late and deserve a tonne of respect. Undoubtedly it’d be foolish to dismiss their chances but I hope I’ve unearthed an alternative.
MISS FLORENTINE raced over seven furlongs for the first time when running over course and distance earlier in the month. She’d been tackling five furlongs for her first four starts but seemed to improve vastly in her most recent performance. She was only 1.25 lengths behind in fourth but now with Colin Keane booked for the ride she should be on the premises once again.
Tyrian’s Dream sprung a shock to win a similar contest over course and distance last time out but his lack of consistency makes him hard to follow to make it back to back success. He’s only been risen 5lbs by the handicapper so he’s still got a chance to find the frame.
Despite being woeful of late, having not finished better than ninth in his last seven starts, Shatharaat could go much better than expected. His best performances last year came in seven furlong races on soft ground finishing fifth of fifteen and third of eight respectively. He now finds himself with much less weight than he carried in those races, with similar conditions here it’s hard not to take a keen interest.
That aside it’s CLIFFS OF FREEDOM that gets my vote. The three year old looks to have room for improvement and despite being a seven race maiden put in a solid performance over course and distance last time. He was a tad unlucky when impeded in the closing stages last time and with a clear run this time around and with less weight to carry Kevin Coleman’s runner has a solid chance.
CLIFFS OF FREEDOM
Top trainer Dermot Weld has sent out three winners from the yard in the past fortnight and could add to that tally in the form of MARIA CHRISTINA. The four year old filly may have been poor in her last handful of starts but she’s competed in group race company and now back at this level she has a much better chance. Her only win came in a 12 furlong race on heavy ground. She races over the same trip and has similar ground today and as such shouldn’t be far away.
Ally Cay has placed in her last three runs and can’t be disregarded. The same can be said for Arcland who’s also placed in their last few outings. New Vocation will appreciate a return to turf after a poor all-weather performance and can pose a serious challenge.
The final race of the eight race card is a five furlong sprint that looks just as tough to call as as some of the big runner races earlier in the day. There’s a slight bias to those drawn higher over the minimum trip here at the Curragh and that adds to the reasons why I’m going to be championing the chances of HODDS GIRL. The three year old maiden showed much more when dropping to five and a half furlongs and although it’s only 100 yards this even shorter trip should help this filly who likes to be up near the pace. She clearly handles softer going and looks primed for a good performance on her handicap debut.
More experienced handicappers such as Pretty Boy Floyd, Teddy Boy and Enter The Red are proven in races of this nature and shouldn’t be far away with Blue Umbrella looking best of the rest.
written by Rory Paddock