Racing Tip of the Day
Matt Brocklebank heads to the feature race in Ireland for his best bet of the day and is attempting to look beyond the glaringly obvious.
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Bold Thady Quill - 4.40 Leopardstown
I'm sure we can all agree that Kingsbarns is the horse with the most potential lining up in today's Listed Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien, the son of Galileo was an impressive winner of the 2012 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and although beaten out of sight by The Fugue et al on his belated return to action in the Irish Champion Stakes last September, he finished just four lengths behind Olympic Glory when third in the QEII at Ascot the following month.
The official handicapper raised Kingsbarns 1lb to a mark of 117 following that fine effort on Champions Day and it's absolutely no surprise to see him trading at long odds-on ahead of his reappearance this afternoon.
With 13lb in hand over his closest rival, he'll be deemed an O'Brien banker by many.
But the same was said of Fame And Glory before managing only third to the 22lb inferior She's Our Mark at the Curragh in April 2010, and also of St Nicholas Abbey when filling the same position in the very same race on his seasonal bow 12 months on, finishing behind horses 29 and 32lb lower than he in the Irish handicap.
There are plenty more cases when rating disparities are bafflingly defied at this time of year and it's also worth baring in mind O'Brien's general early-season record.
Take this year alone - the master trainer had 14 runners in Ireland throughout March, with only Bracelet ready enough to get her head in front, while the big guns out in Meydan, including Ruler Of The World, Magician and Giovanni Boldini, all shaped like they were short of peak fitness.
Kingsbarns, one of six runners for the yard today, may simply blow his opponents away, even if not fully wound up, but from a betting perspective I can't help but thinking he's vulnerable.
The aforementioned closest rival is Light Heavy, Jim Bolger's five-year-old, who has also had something of a truncated career.
He enjoyed an excellent three-year-old campaign, finishing third in Camelot's Irish Derby, but a very busy 2012 looked to have taken its toll as he showed precious little interest in two starts at last year's Dubai Carnival.
Not seen since and dropping back back to a mile for the first time since his second ever start, he also falls into the category of horses I'm happy to take on.
With all due respect to connections of the 77-rated Nini OK, that leaves us with three and Bold Thady Quill gets the vote.
A versatile, experienced and reliable seven-year-old, Ken Condon's grey found only subsequent Queen Anne and Juddmonte International hero Declaration Of War too good in this event last year and comes into this race-fit on the back of an excellent effort when fourth under a big weight in the Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh.
He finished third to Sweet Lightening in the Lincolnshire last March before winning a Listed race at Cork on his very next start and the more rain they get throughout the day will boost his chances of repeating the feat at Leopardstown.