Irish Eyes: That's Hall folks
The Curragh stages a fantastic card today featuring four Group races, with the Ascot Gold cup winner Leading Light headlining the cast in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger Trial.
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He is currently trading at around the 1/2 mark, with the in-form Johnny Murtagh’s Royal Diamond next in the betting.
Aidan O’Brien has been here before when Ernest Hemmingway started at 4/9 in this race last year only to finish a poor third behind Murtagh’s charge but to be fair, Leading Light is a very different animal.
The winner of last year's Doncaster St Leger who went on take this year’s staying highlight at Royal Ascot in June, O’Brien’s charge is using this as a prep-race as he bids to win his second Classic in the Irish St Leger next month.
Nevertheless, he has only been beaten twice in nine lifetime starts -on his debut and then in a soft-ground Arc last year - and whilst this will be a prep race and he is likely to be just about 80% right, that should still be enough to score here.
Parish Hall gets the next best vote on the card in the Group Three Royal Whip Stakes.
This race has only managed to attract five runners, but two of them have scored at the very highest level as two-year-olds. Kingsbarns is one and he rates a danger to the selection, given he is as short as 5/4 favourite.
However, despite his Group One win in a very poor Racing Post Trophy he has not been running to consistent 112 level like Jim Bolger’s charge has been. In fact, he’s hardly been running at all – this is just his sixth career start a week before the autumn of his four-year-old career.
Contrast that with Parish Hall, who is today making his seventh start of the season and it’s very difficult to see how Kingsbarns is 6/4 and Parish Hall is around the 3/1 mark. Perhaps bookmakers are focussing on the fact that Parish Hall has to concede 3lb all around today as a result of his Group Three win here last month but nevertheless, the prices look incorrect.
While he did have a disappointing day here yesterday, Jim Bolger generally has his string in good form (he recorded a double at Killarney on Friday night) and Parish Hall loves to hear his hooves rattle, which he should today, provided the forecast rain does not fall any earlier than expected. He looks very much overpriced.
Adjusted lines up for the O’Brien team in the last which is a very competitive-looking maiden, even for Headquarters. He is clearly no star within the Ballydoyle ranks and in fact, is more than likely a pacemaker at home for one of their better horses (Leading Light perhaps, given he also runs today). Consequently you might think he is not a horse to be steaming in on at short prices.
That said, the blinkers are in place for the first time today, indicating that Joseph O'Brien may well change the tactics and possibly try to make all today and if he does, that's a positive as there is no better judge of pace currently riding.
This looks like Adjusted’s Derby and if he fails to score today, it’s difficult to ever see him managing to do so. He has shown a decent level of form in his three runs to-date, most notably when beaten a length by Fascinating Rock, and that is reflected in his lofty rating of 88. He really should be able to win this.
Irish Eyes selections - click for the latest prices: