Aidan O’Brien confirmed over the weekend that Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and Epsom fourth Broome would be his main hopes for a 13th Irish Derby success at the Curragh on Saturday. The classic winner is 5/4 favourite with BetVictor with Derby runner up Madhoom 11/4 and Broome 7/2.
O’Brien confirmed facile Royal Ascot winner Japan would not be involved at the Curragh with his next run likely to be in either the Grand Prix De Paris on Bastille Day (July 14th) or wait for the King George at Ascot at the end of the month. Long term Japan is 14/1 with BetVictor for the Arc on the first Sunday in October and he might prove the best of the O’Brien three-year-olds in the long term.
The ground is described as good to firm on Monday ahead of Newbury’s card this evening but there is the possibility of an overnight shower if the BBC weather map is to be believed. The most interesting runner on the card is Lady Bamford’s Star Spirt (6.35) who is the first foal of connections’ French Oaks winner Star Of Seville.
This 7f trip should suit John Gosden’s filly on debut although the betting should provide valuable clues as to her ability. Saeed Bin Suroor’s Picture Frame finished third behind two Royal Ascot winners on debut over 6f but failed to build on that when disappointing back to 5f on her second start. She now steps up to 7f which is not certain to suit on breeding, but she does have the best form in the book.
Perfect Illusion (7.05) has yet to win on turf but is slipping down the weights, Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle and any significant rain should not inconvenient this son of Nathaniel. Martyn Meade’s Infrastructure looks a big danger and there is a decent race in him between now and the end of the season, but he might need want too much rain.
Over at Beverley and there is significant rain forecast. The opening seven-and-a-half-furlong Novice event is a long way for two-year-olds and Walk In Marrakesh (is likely to be a short price to go one better than when second at Haydock on debut when she was taken left at the start. That wasn’t the greatest maiden ever staged at the track, however, and she is taken on with Bryan Smart’s Frasard (2.00) who stayed on strongly at Carlisle on debut (6f) and looks sure to appreciate today’s additional distance. Graham Lee keeps the ride.
At Newton Abbot Midnight Folie (6.20) has been making hay in points and transferred his good form to rules when making all at Ffo Las five days ago. He must shoulder a 7lbs penalty today but will be a tough nut to crack if in the same form.
There is a terrific handicap chase at Newton Abbot and with a dry forecast Romain De Senam will have every chance of following up his recent C&D success for Paul Nicholls but down the foot of the weights the mare Kentford Heiress (6.50) is taken to land her hat-trick. The selection may have been a shade fortunate to win over C&D last time, but she has taken well to fences and receives weight from the rest of the field.
Wait For Me has the scope to jump a fence but he never took to the larger obstacles a couple of years ago although it will be fascinating to see whet the market says of his chance.
Royal Magic did us a favour when landing a gamble at Southwell last time and he must have every chance of following up under a 7lbs higher mark. The each way vote, however, goes to Ballyknock Cloud (7.55) who I thought would make up into a decent chaser when he won a Novice Hurdle for Jack Barber at Southwell back in October 2017.
The selection subsequently lost his way but has been sweetened up by a change of yard and returned to winning ways between the flags in recent weeks. He is back with Jack Barber for this evening’s contest and gets the each way vote.