The strongest maidens in Ireland are generally contested at our two premier tracks: The Curragh and Leopardstown. A horse needs to be stakes class or a high class handicapper to claim glory. The big yards save their best youngsters for these races and competition is fierce. Backing horses in maidens is not a good practice. There is very little form to work off, the market is based on pedigrees and the names of trainers. It makes little sense to have a bet to me. A more worthwhile practice is to sit back and analyse the race. Makes notes and try to find eye catchers or horses that will develop. Go down to the parade ring if you are there and assess the horses in terms of size and maturity. This work will be always be beneficial. Sometimes it is good to take a watching brief. Aidan O’Brien has some intriguing runners in both maidens. In the opening maiden over a mile he runs three including Blenheim Palace who is full brother to Churchill and Clemmie. I think this horse may need time as he looked very big on debut. Gee Rex will be hard to beat off 96 and sets a high standard. Cosmic Horizon is owned by Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt and looks a talented horse. He finished behind the smart Zuenoon at Galway, who won at Killarney this week. Take a watching brief is my advice, plenty winners will come out of this maiden. The second maiden looks wide open with 28 runners over 6f. Ferritti and Giottino were two expensive purchases and will be interesting to watch. Rita Levi is rated 80 and is consistent, but may find one too good again. Notebooks at the ready.
Coral Beach looks to have found a good opportunity to get her head in front in the 6f nursery. She has finished behind some class animals including Fairyland and Zuenoon on her last start. Her mark of 79 is fair and Donnacha will have her up with the pace. Coral Beach should take all the beating. Ed Chamerlain is involved with Lord Rapscallion and that one has a chance. The Leger trial is harder to predict. A case can be made for most of the field. Flag Of Honour and Southern France are improving types and fit the bill. On ratings there is very little between all the runners. Perhaps a watching brief would be beneficial again. The listed Curragh Stakes over 5f isn’t a particularly strong contest. Indigo Balance will appreciate the drop down in class and could prove too good for this field. A reproduction of his run behind Advertise will see him take this. Gossamer Wings looks an obvious danger. Royal Naval Warship will go off at skimpy odds for the 45-75 handicap. The last race is ultra competitive. Perhaps Gasta will reward each way punters.
Meanwhile at Killarney it is the final day of the four day August Festival. The Grade B Handicap Chase is the centrepiece of a full national hunt card. I am struggling to get to grips with the race and all the horses in the market are tightly bunched. Peregrine Run has won over C&D and is a proper summer horse, but is not a strong choice by any means. I cannot split Babbling Stream and Lizzies Champ in the 2:35. I have an affinity for both, so hopefully they will be the 1-2. Indigo Balance is my NAP (Curragh 4:00). In the Ebor I think Sea The Lion has a sporting chance. I was lucky enough to see this fabulous horse in the parade ring at Cork, prior to winning. He is ultra consistent and it would top off a great week for Sea the Stars.
2:55 Coral Beach
4:00 Indigo Balance
York Ebor: Sea The Lion
Double: Indigo Balance and Coral Beach