Sunday at Curragh

The opening contest looks like it will go the way of UNLESS (13:40), who is the form pick in the race. I do think Shelton, who is by Mehmas, is a fascinating horse. Paddy Twomey isn’t the guy to waste money on fancy entries, and she has a Moyglare entry which could tell you that she’s quite smart.

PEARLS GALORE (14:10) is the one to beat in the Minstrel Stakes. She’s two form two this season having won well at both Leopardstown and The Curragh last time out. Dr Zempf could give her something to think about, but she could just be too good.

Giladah was good value to winning last time. She probably got away lightly with getting a 7lb hike, but I’m going to put up FEMALE SOLDIER (14:45). She won first time up and then ran in than Oaks Trial where she tried to come from off the pace, which is tough to do at Naas. She runs off a mark of 89 and I think that’s fairly workable.

Paddy Twomey has another great chance of a winner with RUMBLES OF THUNDER (15:55). She was slightly disappointing last time but had done little wrong in two starts for the yard before that. She’s got a Nassau entry which might tell you how good her homework has been, and I expect her to run very well. Purplepay, who ran well in the Pretty Polly can give her most to think about.

Saturday at Curragh

HANS ANDERSEN (13:30)   is going to be very short in the betting. He looks very exciting and was given a considerate introduction at Tipperary, so I think he’ll be much too good for these. Dermot Weld runs a newcomer, Nation’s Call, who is likely to be one for further down the line but could run well first time up.

Ballydoyle might have a great weekend and LITTLE BIG BEAR (14:03) , who missed the July Stakes last week, looks the one to beat. He was good when he won at Royal Ascot and that’s the best form on offer. Slan Abhaile might give him most to do, but the form of her debut win didn’t work out too well.

MR WAGYU (14:35)  comes into the Scurry Handicap in great form. He ran really well in the Wokingham and John Quinn has a great record in Ireland. It’s a competitive handicap, so you always need plenty of things to go right, but he’s in solid form.

I’ve put up MOONIESTA (15:10)  a few times this season and I’m looking forward to seeing her again. I also like Castle Star, who is one I’m excited see. He’s the one horse in the field with the potential X-factor. Whether he’ll be sharp enough to win first time up this season I don’t know, but he’s clearly very talented.

Hopefully one or two readers got on at the fancy prices before Emily Upjohn was brought out, but EMILY DICKINSON (15:45)  has been on my radar for this race for a while. I still think we’ve yet to see the best of her. She was ridden to come home and finish her race off well at Leopardstown last time and ran with real credit.  I think she’ll run very well in an open Irish Oaks.

KAZAKDARIA (16:20)  will be hard to beat under Rachael Blackmore, especially now they’re dropped in grade. She’s done little wrong in her career so far. I do think it’s worth keeping an eye on Hearts Are Trumps, who is a very capable hurdler. His flat rating is generous, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran well before running at the Galway Festival.

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