Johnny Ward's Irish Angle: Get in groove with Psychedelic Funk

By Johnny Ward
Sat 15 Sep 2018

Longines Irish Champions Weekend has been a massive boost to the Irish calendar and the hope is that, with the Curragh’s refurbishment finished next year, it can kick on to the next level.

Facilities are critical to the crowd it attracts, but we can do little to complain about the quality of the racing that has taken place in Leopardstown and the Curragh since its inception.

It is impossible to find a spot in the calendar to satisfy everyone – but the inclusion of Roaring Lion and a key French raider in Study Of Man in Saturday’s feature adds greatly to the race.

The Qipco Irish Champion Stakes is my favourite race on the level, pitching milers against mile-and-a-half horses, three-year-olds versus elders and the quandary of the boys taking on the girls. Saturday's renewal is no classic but still a cracker, and there is so much else to talk about.

Listowel is also part of Saturday’s package with the Harvest Festival concluding.

3.30 Listowel: Internal Transfer

Internal Transfer bumped into two well-treated rivals here earlier in the week here and, while he could only manage third in what was a lower-grade heat than this, do not be overly perturbed.

This is a horse who is seemingly especially well-suited by aggressive rides and softer terrain than he encountered then.

A mistake two out was critical but he stuck to his task and this will take more getting.

He has little weight and Conor McNamara, who recently rode his first winner - for the same connections - should have fairly simply instructions.

3.50 Leopardstown: Legal Spin at 16-1

Quite remarkable here that Aidan O’Brien has two runners less than Willie Mullins’ five.

Mullins has become a sensationally good trainer of Flat horses and the chances are one of them will win this lucrative handicap – but which one?

I can make a case for at least five of the pair’s octet but Legal Spin, available at 16-1, makes most appeal.

A brother to Laws Of Spin, the winner of this race last year, he was superb on his second start in a staying contest at Killarney.

He returned to that track when a shade disappointing over an extended 11 furlongs last time but he was really well-backed and the trip was probably all wrong. He has a low draw here, which will be a major help, and can progress.

6.00 Leopardstown: Psychedelic Funk

There should be a good gallop here with Kenya and Prepare For Battle having been prominent last time in victories for Aidan O'Brien.

Clearly, the probability of the pair taking each other on is quite remote, but likely there will be other speed pressure too, and that will play to the closers' strengths, such as Psychedelic Funk, who looks overpriced.

We all thought of him as a sprinter earlier in his life but he hacked up over a mile at Naas last summer and won again there when last seen.

Ger Lyons is perhaps the most reliable trainer in the country to produce a horse to run to his optimum and this likeable four-year-old has more than enough ability to win this. I cannot for the life of me explain why I Can Fly, rated 103, is so much shorter than him in the betting.

7.10 Leopardstown: Silverkode

British raiders dominate the higher numbers here, with the first three all housed across the Irish Sea, and none is bigger than 7-1 at the time of typing – but this is far from a gimme and predictably hot.

Full Moon, trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, looks really feasible up just 3lb from a smooth Curragh win.

However, Silverkode also ticks boxes, not least that he is available at double-figures.

This has been a poor season for Joe Murphy but his recent runners have offered more encouragement and this appeals as a perfectly-worked Murphy plan.

Two lengths behind Full Moon off a little break at the Curragh, his mark is now down to 91. Last year, when a 5-1 shot, running off 99, he was second in this race. His draw in five is something close to perfect.

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