We suggested yesterday that Magic Wand’s price of 9/4 at BetVictor for Saturday’s Irish Oaks looked too big and the Ballydoyle filly is now 13/8 having been the subject of sustained support. A win for Aidan O’Brien at the weekend would be his 40th Irish Classic success and the handler could saddle as many as seven runners at the Curragh although only Forever Together (5/1 at BetVictor) and Bye Bye Baby (14/1) are definite starters O’Brien said on Wednesday.
Sword Of Gold (4.20) shaped with considerable promise behind stablemate Space Traveller at Doncaster last time and begins life in nurseries off what looks a workable mark. Paul Hanagan – who has ridden the selection on all three starts to date – goes to Hamilton and Tony Hamilton takes over in the saddle this afternoon at Leicester.
A win for Space Traveller (2.00) in Hamilton’s opener would be a boost for Sword Of Gold and I would be disappointed if the selection couldn’t give 6lbs to Kevin Ryan’s Roulston Scar despite dropping back in trip by over a furlong from his racecourse debut.
Vera Drake has finished second in five of her seven career starts and is yet to break her maiden tag. She has been raised another 3lbs for finishing runner up against her own sex last time and is overlooked in favour of Davy’s Dilemma (3.30) who may not have got home over two miles at Newcastle last time and drops back to the distance of his course win last July.
The form of Rollicking’s (6.55) third at Newmarket last time was given a boost when the second Lover’s Knot won a maiden back on the July course last weekend. The selection has been given an opening mark of 77 and I would be disappointed if she wasn’t competitive in Doncaster’s fillies’ nursery.
James Street (7.30) ran above market expectations when second at Newbury on debut at 14/1 for Hugo Palmer and he can go one better this evening in receipt of 6lbs from Chepstow winner Balata Boy.
Scottish Summit was a wide-margin winner on the July course last time, but the time suggests it wasn’t much of a race and a 9lbs rise may be excessive. Stonific (8.35) was a big disappointment last time at Haydock but he has been given a short break and he is likely to have the race run to suit.
Sister Celine (9.05) has been raised 4lbs for finishing second at Windsor on her handicap debut at the beginning of the month and James Doyle looks a significant booking in tonight’s finale. The form of the selection’s second was hardly franked when the winner – Cross My Mind – blew out at Newbury subsequently, but he was backed as if defeat was out of the question and that race may have come too soon.
Roger Varian’s Player’s Luck has been raised 2lbs for finishing runner up at Salisbury at the weekend and is thus a couple of pounds well in tonight. That run was over 10f and he raced as if the step up to 12f would suit. He is the obvious danger.
At Epsom Hyanna (8.45) can take the finale for the Group 1 winning combination of Charlie Bishop and Eve Johnson Houghton. The selection did not get the best of runs when third at Newmarket off this mark three weeks ago and the form of her previous second to Beringer at Sandown is top class form for this level.