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Curragh betting preview: Make A Challenge should confirm form

It’s been a good week for Steven Dowler who nailed the Ayr Place 6 on Monday before going close again at Haydock. He returns with a Curragh betting preview ahead of the £5,000 Boosted Place 6 so read on and join his Syndicate.


Curragh betting preview


14.00 – Fillies Maiden – 7f

This maiden looks quite tough with a few smart types likely to emerge from it. You can obviously see the case for the favourite SNOWFALL who is closely related to Arc winner Found having made a bright impression when staying on nicely to finish third on debut at Navan last month. Any sign of improvement here should see her win this being one of the leading contenders in the race and being the choice of Seamie Heffernan.

ALIYZA also shaped well on debut when finishing third to be beaten just two lengths, and with the Dermot Weld stable in flying form since racing resumed, that would be enough confidence to presumably think this filly will be thereabouts at the finish.

AHANDFULOFSUMMERS looks interesting and could go well at a huge price. Tony Stack operates at a good level at this track with a fair strike-rate, and top rider Chris Hayes takes the mount. She has plenty of speed in her pedigree, and is also Tony Stack’s only runner on today’s card which is always worthy of consideration.



14.35 – Maiden – 7f

Another maiden that is surely going to see some of these runners develop into smart types further down the line.

HUDSON RIVER makes his eagerly-anticipated debut being the daughter of the high-class sprinter Mecca’s Angel. He is bred to have plenty of speed and stamina combined with the fact his pedigree is top-class. I wouldn’t normally be too bullish about a favourite who has yet to run, but with all things considered, everything does indicate Hudson River will develop into a top-level performer at some point, and he’s taken to make a winning debut for Aidan O’Brien.

LUST also has a nice enough pedigree and any two-year-old that is trained by Ger Lyons is always worth a second look. The stable is in good-form, and with Colin Keane taking the ride, he could go quite well at a nice price. WEMBLEY might invariably need this run, but his pedigree is smart and despite being the stable’s third string on jockey bookings, he has the potential to become a top-level contender in due course. He’s related to Elizabeth Browning and Johannes Vermeer, so he could be dangerous to ignore this afternoon.



15.10 – Finlay Volvo Cars Race – 1m2f

Initially, at least, this race looked wide-open on paper, and having looked into the race in further detail, I haven’t changed my mind.

However, I do think NAPA VALLEY is the right favourite and will definitely take a lot of beating. He enhanced his ever-so growing reputation when comfortably justifying favouritism on his belated debut by three lengths. Although today’s race is another step up in grade along with the distance being an extra two furlongs, he’s entitled to relish it and therefore he could easily remain unbeaten.

It would be hard discount stable companion KEATS who has improved on each start having finally gotten off the mark just nine days ago when a short priced 8/13 favourite. Each outing to date has suggested today’s longer distance will play to his strengths. While all his efforts so far have come on testing conditions, today’s better going should see significant improvement from the son of Galileo.



15.45 – Rockingham Handicap – 5f

As expected, this is possibly the hardest race to solve out of today’s card. I do, however, quite like ALFREDO ARCANO at a monster price. He’s a cracking performer on the AW, with his latest win coming on that surface. He hasn’t been in that sort of form on his last three starts, but he’s a feasibly well-handicapped horse and could sneak into the frame.

PRIMO UOMO hasn’t won for two years but is generally consistent, and his form over C&D reads impressive figures of 3, 3, 3, 1, 8, 4. His actual last run over C&D in handicap company was off this exact mark and he bolted up by two lengths. That being said, he has a nice-looking draw and is certainly well handicapped to win a big race like this back at a track he loves.

Although carrying top-weight, URBAN BEAT normally competes at a higher level having done most of his racing up to this point in stronger races. He was a Listed winner last term, so he brings plenty of class to this race and should come on plenty from his seasonal debut that saw him finish a creditable fourth behind Make A Challenge.

STRONG JOHNSON completes the quintet of selections. He won easily over C&D two weeks ago and has subsequently charged up the handicap as a result of that emphatic performance. That being said, he’s still clearly on an upward-curve, and maybe a 9lb rise in the handicap here won’t be enough to prevent him from putting in another big race, especially with his form figures over 5f reading an impressive 2, 1, 3, 4 and 1.



16.15 – Greenland’s Stakes – 6f

This looks quite a weak-looking renewal of this race and that might be a welcome relief for MAKE A CHALLENGE to strike at this level for the first time. The five-year-old is continuing to improve and get stronger with racing, and he showed plenty of class to win a shade cosily in Listed company on his return to action last time out.

His record over C&D reads figures of 1, 2, 1, 1, and he was even thought good enough to contest last year’s Group 1 Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot where he finished a more than respectable 5th of 17 runners. He had today’s rival Speak In Colours in behind that day, and I am confident he will confirm that form again today. Make a Challenge is also top-rated at 112, and I make him one of the day’s best bets in my Curragh betting preview.



16.45 – Pretty Polly Stakes – 1m2f

In the final leg of my Curragh betting preview, all eyes will be on the brilliant and four-time Group 1 winner MAGICAL who was initially retired but Aidan O’Brien requested her to stay in training. She is such a top-class, consistent filly and her form puts her well clear of this field. Her form at this track is exceptional with her form reading – 2, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, along with her seasonal debut record being solid. Although she might seem too short in the betting, I think the 8/11 about her chance here is valuable and she should have too much class for her rivals.

The only other runner I could see beating Magical is the unexposed daughter of Australia CAYENNE PEPPER. She was unbeaten in her first three starts as a juvenile, including a dominant Group three success at this track over 1m. Her final start last campaign saw her finish fourth in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile and that form has since been boosted despite her not being seen since. The stable is in red-hot form at this present moment, and this filly should be more than capable of continuing her progression this season.




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