The eight-fixture Summer Series is now in full swing at Leopardstown, with this year’s second Thursday twilight meeting hosting the Group Three Ballycorus Stakes after last week’s Listed double-header.
An eight-race card with nearly €150,000 in prize money gets under way live at 4.15pm on Racing TV, and here are three contenders to note on a typically interesting card at the premier track.
I was expecting to put up Pearl’s Galore here - she looked very smart last season and her close second behind Champers Elysees (with Parent’s Prayer five lengths adrift in third) reads very well. But Monaasib has the best form with plenty in his favour and I’m siding with him at a bigger than anticipated quotes of 7/2.
He was beaten less than two lengths by subsequent Classic winner Poetic Flare on his return and posted several good efforts as a juvenile - most notably when second to High Definition over a mile on soft ground at the Curragh (probably not his ideal test) and when mugged on the line in the valuable Ballyhane Stakes when he was unfortunate to be isolated up the middle of the track.
The Irish 2,000 Guineas last time was his biggest disappointment on paper so far, but he shaped better than the result there from an unfavourable draw and was travelling nicely a few furlongs from home before fading inside the final furlong.
He receives weight from most of his rivals here and drops back down in trip to seven furlongs, while he has a good draw in stall two. He breaks well and shows good early speed now and that’s always an advantage here; if he can hold a good forward position in the first half of the race and save his finishing kick for the turn for home he should go close.
Despite the small field, this three-year-old handicap looks trappy and the four principal contenders at the top of the market look closely matched at this stage - just 6lb separates them as a whole.
Malaysian is the early favourite and she finally gets quick ground and seven furlongs, but she can take some early rousting and connections have opted for cheekpieces. She is well-regarded but looks worth taking on in a tight heat.
Maoilin makes the most appeal as the most unexposed runner here. She shaped well on her debut for Andrew Slattery before doing well to win from an unfavourable draw at Dundalk on her last start back in late March.
She is a fast starter from the stalls and has a nice draw on the rail, while stepping up two furlongs in trip on handicap debut will definitely suit. The trainer believes she could be running over a mile and a half by the end of the campaign. She looks an improver, but importantly has done more so far than the beautifully-bred Sweet Molly Malone who will also enjoy tacking this longer distance.
Trainer Paddy Twomey has only run 10 handicap debutants so far in Ireland, but two have hit the target and they have performed above market expectation as whole, even if we are dealing with a small sample size.
At the age of 10, Munfallet is very much the elder statesman of this field but he knows his way around Leopardstown and makes each-way appeal with plenty of places on offer in a race with a favourable shape given inclusion of short-priced favourite Giustino.
That horse will be difficult to beat after winning by eight lengths last week, and he is clearly well-in under the 6lb penalty wth the excellent Dylan Browne McMonagle again claiming 5lb. However, this quicker ground arguably poses a new question and the draw could have been kinder – he will break wide from stall 16.
Munfallet has dropped 8lb in the ratings since late last year, but he’s been performing with credit during that spell and has been beaten less than two lengths on half of his eight runs during that time. He was beaten just a length from a 1lb higher mark in a big-runner handicap here last month, and from four starts over a mile at this track on good ground or quicker he has won once and placed twice.
Jockey Annalise Cullen looks good value at this early stage for this 7lb claim, too. She has four winners from 30 rides so far, only starting off in the saddle under Rules last November. Her mounts perform 100% above market expectation so far, while all of her four winners have come in the last five weeks. She is improving and already knows Munfallet, having finished third on him at 25/1 on just her fourth professional ride late last year at Dundalk.
Trainer Denis Coakley has only run two different horses in the past few seasons, but his Park Row won his penultimate start and was just denied at 14/1 on his last run earlier this month.Start your free one month trial of Racing TV now and enjoy all the action from Britain and Ireland!
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