It was one last year by Enable and the Darley Irish Oaks is the main race of the weekend on Saturday at the Curragh. For me though it is a no bet race and I will explain why. I have been keeping an eye on news of September as she was entered but she will not line-up sadly and in fact only seven do. More on September later.
Impressive G.2 Ribblesdale Stakes winner Magic Wand was well backed early in the week after an upbeat update from Aidan O’Brien and is now no bigger than 11-8, having been freely available at 5-2 on Monday night. The value is well and truly gone. She was, of course, fourth behind Forever Together in the G.1 Investec Oaks at Epsom suffering a troubled run having beaten her previously in the Listed Cheshire Oaks. The favourite looked back to her best when winning at the Royal Meeting whilst Forever Together was turned over at odds-on in the G.1 Pretty Polly. Ryan Moore has chosen to ride Magic Wand. William Haggas claims it was an easy decision to step Sea Of Class up in trip following her comfortable wins in two 1m2f Listed heats at Newbury. This is a fair step-up though plus she has never gone right-handed before and I just think 15-8 is too skinny of one unproven at the level; she could well be up to it but I can’t bet at the odds. She also has to deal with the Ballydoyle trio as Bye Bye Baby will no doubt be on pacemaker duty again. Mary Tudor, Romiyna and Tissiak can surely only hope to pick-up some appearance money.
There are seven other meetings to get your teeth into should you choose, including arguably the biggest summer jumps meeting up at Market Rasen with the Summer Plate Handicap Chase and Listed Summer Hurdle. As for me, I am having three bets on Saturday.
Here in Blighty Emotionless is at Newbury and goes in the Listed Bet365 Stakes over 1m2f at 1.50. He was running well without winning at the Dubai Carnival and this is a drop in class. He has clearly had his problems and was gelded over the winter, but an effort similar to that he put in when second to subsequent Dubai Turf winner Benbatl in the G.3 Singspiel Stakes when last seen in January (first run since the dreaded snip) would see him go very close here. I took a chance on the Charlie Appleby trained 5yo and grabbed 5-1 back on Monday – 9-4 now. Desert Encounter takes a big drop in class and is feared most.
They go over six furlongs at 3.00 for the Group Two bet365 Hackwood Stakes. Going through the card earlier this week Yafta jumped off the page at me, being rated 107 the grey has the race conditions and weight for age very much in his favour. Progressing with every run this year he was second in the G.3 Chipchase Stakes last time and at 9-1 looks the value bet. “Yafta is ultra-consistent and I think he’s still improving,” said Angus Gold, racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum earlier this week “He’s from a late-maturing family and he’s got a tremendous will to win. I’m a big admirer of his." Fellow 3yo Equilateral has to be feared dropping into calmer waters having been tried in the G.1 Commonwealth Cup last time whilst Bacchus and Invincible Army are just two of the older horses with chances.
I have put up a couple of Saeed bin Suroor inmates recently and fancy another on Saturday in the shape of Major Partnership in the Smarkets Novice Stakes at 4.35 over at HQ over the 7f. Godolphin often run their better maidens at HQ and the grey looks likely to be fairly decent in time. The ninth foal of Roystonea he is a brother to 6f/7f winner Misterioso and half-brother to 4 other winners. He did not run at two but was second to the now 102 rated Il Primo Sole on debut at Kempton over seven furlongs earlier this year. Green as grass he reared at the start and hung left most of way but run on well in the end. Has had wind surgery since that run and he should take all the beating with improvement on the cards. None of the firms had priced-up at the time of writing so I will be grabbing the best price available ASAP.
They race again on Sunday afternoon at the Curragh and September will make her belated seasonal reappearance in the G.2 Kilboy Estate Stakes (Fillies & Mares) at 3.30. She was, as touched on at the start, entered in the Irish Oaks, as well as other big races, but will return to the track over the 1m1f here before, all being well, tackling bigger targets later in the season. She is likely to be a short price but if 6-4 is about in the morning I will take it happily. My ante-post punt for the Oaks at Epsom her stablemate Sarrocchi – was a non-runner – also lines-up but she has been a disappointment this year whilst Ryan Moore has plumped for Magical, of the four Ballydoyle runners, who is on a recovery mission having been beaten in France back in April. The race should be well worth a watch as the Sunday dinner goes down.