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The weather forecasts in recent weeks haven't done me any favours. Catterick was expecting to get some rain, and that would've surely changed the ground from good to soft to soft and pushing heavy, but it seems like they had no rain as the ground remained good to soft. I was hoping for very soft ground as it wouldn't have suited many of the horses in the race, but it didn't quite happen and the course specialist who has never won on soft ground, which put me off backing him, won.
Leopardstown 7:25 – Alfred Munnings 9/2 (1pt Bet365)
I thought Alfred Munnings would've been much shorter than what he currently is, not based on form, but more the Ryan Moore and Aidan O'Brien factor, so seeing him at 9/2 makes him a bet in my eyes.
There's no doubt that he has to improve on the form he's shown in his career so far, as based on the RPRs he is at least 10lbs inferior to the likes of Bold Discovery and Trustyourinstinct, but this horse has a superb pedigree. He is a half-brother to Epsom Oaks heroine, Snowfall, who was a superb horse before she lost her life. Alfred Munnings is by Dubawi and out of a Galileo mare, so they'd be desperate for this horse to turn into something proper as having a Dubawi colt on their breeding books would be huge, especially with Galileo passing away not too long ago.
There were strong feelings around for this colt last year, he was sent off 8/11F on his debut and was 11/8F to win the Chesham at Royal Ascot, which saw him finish 6th/13. Something clearly wasn't right for him that day, and he was injured and didn't make a return to the track until July 1st, which saw him run an okay race to finish 3rd/5 in a Group 3. Ryan Moore had him held up about 20L behind the leader turning for home, gave him a few whacks of the whip and kept him going to the line, and I think that was more of a fitness run and also a bit of an education by Ryan. I think there's definitely more to come from this horse as they don't get it wrong too often at Royal Ascot when they strongly fancy a horse, and I refuse to believe we've seen the best of him, and we've seen in the past with Aidan's horses, they often come back from injuries like a totally new horse.
Soft ground won't be ideal for a lot of these, but I feel like it won't hinder Alfred Munnings' chances with him being by Dubawi, who has produced soft ground horses, and Snowfall was a winner on slow ground, so there are reasons to be positive.
Epsom 7:00 – Metahorse 9/2 (1pt PaddyPower)
I thought that Metahorse‘s run on stable debut for Darryll Holland was very eye-catching and it was a definite return to form.
He clearly appreciated the Chester track, he ran to a 5lb higher level according to RPRs, and the form of that race looks fairly solid. With him handling Chester, I'd be more than confident that he will handle Epsom and its quirkiness. He went up 2lbs for that run at Chester, which is a pain, but that still leaves him on a handy mark of 84 considering he was 3rd/6 0.75L behind the winner off a mark of 86 in a Class 3 race, behind a horse who has improved 17lbs since.
I don't think the drop back to 7f will cause any issues, as though the Epsom track is downhill, the speediness does make it a test of the trip as you are going quicker than at most tracks, so stamina still comes into play. Darryll has had a couple of winners in the last fortnight and Kevin Stott is riding out of his skin at the moment and proving what a talent he is and the rightful jockey for the Amo colours.
Leopardstown - 7:25 pm
9/2 @ Bet365
Epsom - 7:00 pm