Three selections on a busy Sunday, which has four meetings. Two come from the Curragh, and one from Windsor.
Since his most recent second place at Musselburgh, I think that this race has been the plan for ZARZYNI.
Though David Barron has a 0/6 record at this track, it does appear a track in which he likes to send runners over, and in recent years he has had a couple of horses which have been unlucky. A few years ago, in this race, he sent Venturous, who was arguable drawn on the wrong side of the track, but ran well. Zarzyni runs in the same colours as Venturous, so it's not a surprise to see him run in this race. You might question the fact that he's been aimed for this race, but the prize money for this race is much better than your ordinary handicap, as the winner gets €59,000. As I mentioned before, since he ran well at Musselburgh, this would've been the plan, as he's clearly a useful horse, and the form has worked out extremely well.
- Jabbarockie has won again since.
- Came From The Dark has won since, and finished 2nd in a Group 3.
- Victory Angel has won twice since.
- Copper Knight has won and has run well in multiple big field handicaps.
- Mokaatil won the Epsom Dash on his most recent start.
- Count D'orsay has been knocking on the door, and looks a winner in waiting.
Making your seasonal reappearance in a race of this nature isn't the smartest of ideas, but with that risk comes big odds, and I think that OODNADATTA could offer something in this race at a big price.
Jessie Harrington's lightly raced 3yo filly had some decent form from her 2yo season, and you'd think that she will become a much better horse with time, like many of her siblings. The step up in trip looks sure to suit, based on a visual impression, but also a breeding standpoint. She is by Australia, and is out of a Mare who has produced some good quality middle distance horses like Pablo Escobarr and Roberto Escobarr, who are useful over 12f-14f. This is a 2f step up in trip from what we've seen from this filly, but the way she stays on over 7f suggests it will bring out improvement.
She finished 3rd in the Moyglare stakes at the Curragh last year, behind Shale and Pretty Gorgeous, but she was staying on well in the closing stages. The form of that race worked out well, with Pretty Gorgeous winning the Fillies' mile at Newmarket in the latter stages of 2020. Oodnadatta was then tried at the Breeders' Cup, and though she finished 9th, the race didn't go to plan whatsoever. She was slow out the gates, and due to the fact she had an inside stall, she got swamped and was put to last place. Down the back straight she was easily 15-20 lengths behind the leader and eventual winner, so it was always going to be a tough ask to make up that ground. She ran well from the position she was in, and appeared to be staying on strongly again.
She was entered in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, but was withdrawn due to the heavy ground. The positive thing to take from the withdrawal is that she should be match fit as she would've been trained for that race, so you'd like to think she'll be raring to go today. She's obviously not been seen since November last year, so you're taking a risk on the fact she's trained on, but at the current odds of 28/1 I think she's worth a risk, as I do believe if she has trained on, and she could be a dark horse who will appreciate this longer trip. Colin Keane takes the ride, as Shane Foley prefers the other Jessie Harrington runner, as you'd expect.
Advised: Each Way
A horse who I expect to be well backed today is RUSSIAN VIRTUE, who is trained by David Menuisier.
If this horse doesn't win a race soon then it would be very surprising, as he has been running well in defeat, but his handicap mark doesn't change, which is a bonus. Off a mark of 77, he should be much better than that, and this step up in trip should hopefully unlock further improvement.
Last time out he was positioned towards the rear, didn't get a clear run, but kept on well inside the final furlong where he snatched 2nd. Today, he takes on an extra 1.5 furlongs, and if he had that extra distance last time, he would've been a surefire winner, in my opinion.
Today is a drop in class, as he raced in a Class 3 last time at Sandown, and this is a 0-80 Class 4, so hopefully he step back into worse company will aid his chances of a win.