1.40 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden 5f
Both Alexis Zorba and Little Big Bear finished second on their debuts and should fight this out, with preference for the latter. He was only just touched off by Tough Talk in what looked a smart Curragh maiden, the pair of them pulling clear of their rivals and recording good time figures in the process. This son of No Nay Never should have learned plenty from that and can go one better now.
Alexis Zorba, trained by Joseph O’Brien, found only Blackbeard too good on his debut, with that runner boosting that form with his win in the Listed First Flier on Monday. He is open to any amount of improvement now.
SELECTION: LITTLE BIG BEAR
Next best: Alexis Zorba
2.15 Thank You Mick Scott For 60 Years’ Service Handicap 5f
This could go to Elanora who made a most promising return to action at the Curragh on Monday. Michael Grassick’s filly found only one too good in a 23-runner handicap, continuing her progress from late last season when she got off the mark in a Navan maiden. She is lightly raced so there should be more to come and she has fitness on side.
Teddy Boy is a standing dish in these sprints. He’s very consistent and has been in good form for some time, running well in defeat on his last three starts since switching back to turf. He has lots of good form at Naas as well and looks sure to run his race. Lopes Gold is potentially interesting off a mark of 75. She showed lots of promise in her first two runs at two before a setback derailed her season.
Next best: Teddy Boy
2.50 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race 6f
Shartash gets the vote to build on a good debut run in a Curragh maiden when finishing in behind Tough Talk and Little Big Bear, who runs in the first race on the card. Johnny Murtagh’s colt came through with the front two that day but just couldn’t sustain his effort. As mentioned, that looked a strong race, and he should show the benefit of the experience now.
Aidan O’Brien’s Ace Of Kings is the first foal of Jim Bolger’s Group 2-winning Turret Rocks while Donnacha O’Brien’s Yosemite Valley is a half-brother to the smart Piz Badile. Both make their debut here and could easily have a say, while there was a lot to like about the way Nituna finished off her race over this course and distance on her debut.
Next best: Yosemite Valley
3.25 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Blue Wind Stakes (Group 3)
Lily Pond can continue Aidan O’Brien’s excellent run in Oaks/Derby trials. She was a taking winner of her maiden at Dundalk last month, coming clear with her better fancied stablemate Cherub before comfortably outstaying that rival. By Galileo, she is the first foal of Alluringly, who you may recall was favourite to beat Enable in the Cheshire Oaks. Both those fillies went opposite directions, but Alluringly was a useful middle distance filly herself and Lily Pond could be similiar.
Joseph O’Brien has three fillies here and perhaps Albula, making her seasonal debut, can prove best of them. She was a little disappointing when last seen but that was probably due to the trip of seven furlongs. Earlier she was just touched off by Magical Lagoon in the Group 3 Flame Of Tara, and she should come into her own over today’s 10-furlong distance.
SELECTION: LILY POND
Next best: Albula
4.00 Royal Ascot Trials And Ladies Day May 15th Rated Race 1m 2f
Shark Bay can make it two for two this season. He showed useful form in three runs last season and got off the mark at the first time of asking this term, getting the better of the useful Nusret when pushed out hands and heels to win over this distance at Cork. He can progress from that now.
Inuit and Qitaal are two interesting stable debutants. The former won twice in France but now makes his debut for Joseph O’Brien in the Pretty Gorgeous colours of John Oxley. Qitaal was previously with Mark Johnston before selling for 220,000gns as part of the Shadwell dispersal and has his first start for Ken Condon and Robert Ng here.
SELECTION: SHARK BAY
Next best: Inuit
4.35 Naas Racecourse Fillies Maiden 7f
Ezine should get off the mark at the second time of asking. Dermot Weld hasn’t trained a winner in over a month but he’s had plenty of seconds and, even if this filly isn’t at her best, the form of her maiden second to Guineas third Tuesday looks a cut above what is required. She is a Showcasing half-sister to the useful Sangarius, and can progress to a decent level this term.
If she isn’t at her best, perhaps Toriangel can be the one to take advantage. She ran twice last season but showed progression on her one run this term, staying on from the back of the field in a maiden won by Lullaby at Leopardstown.
Next best: Toriangel
5.05 CW Clothing Handicap 6f
Half Nutz might just be in the grip of the handicapper but he’s very consistent, especially at this track, and is a tentative vote to score again. He was a three-time course-and-distance winner when previously trained by Sheila Lavery, so it’s no surprise Johnny Murtagh has kept to this track for both of his runs so far this season and he ran with credit in fourth on each occasion. Dropped 1lb and with cheekpieces applied for the first time, he is worth chancing again.
Shane Crawley’s filly Karlsberg is another to consider. She found only one too good in a 21-runner Curragh handicap on her seasonal debut but can progress from that, considering she has only had seven starts and will strip fitter now. Dandyville is another to keep in mind as he won two of his last three starts last season, including one over this course and distance.
SELECTION: HALF NUTZ
Next best: Karlsberg
5.35 Irish Racing Writers
Handicap (Premier) 6f
Magniffico can take this good handicap for Johnny Murtagh. He caught the eye on his comeback at Cork, stumbling as he left the stalls which left him on the back foot early, but despite this, he was able to pick up and stay on strongly in the centre, with the front two racing on the stands’ side rail and possibly advantaged by that.
Most of Magniffico’s form last season was over six furlongs, so coming back to that trip here is a positive. He is lightly raced and is open to further progress now on his second start of the season.
There are a number of dangers but the two most pertinent could be Neo Soul and Thunder Eclipse. Neo Soul did well last season and was well-backed to get his three-year-old campaign off to a winning start when he found only stablemate Jarvis too good at Bellewstown. That looked a useful heat and he can progress with race fitness on side now.
The same applies to Thunder Eclipse who outran expectations when fifth in a listed contest at Navan.
Next best: Neo Soul