Address can see Weld home
Galway specialist Dermot Weld appears to rely mainly on one-time Classic hope Address Unknown during today's final session of the three-day August festival at Ballybrit, where the Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes is the traditional feature.
Considering his enviable strike rate there, it's somewhat surprising that the Weld stable has not captured this Listed contest since 2001, when 9/2 chance Mutakarrim obliged for Pat Smullen, who links up as usual with Address Unknown for tonight's renewal.
Not seen since disappointing at The Curragh behind Carraiglawn in early June, this 108-rated Oasis Dream colt had previously divided Ballydoyle's subsequent Irish and English Derby runners-up Midas Touch and At First Sight in Leopardstown's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
A repetition of that level of form, when blinkered for the first time, would probably suffice for Weld's charge to foil the hat-trick ambitions of Charlie Swan's course specialist Rajik, which has gone up 15lb to a mark of 107 for his Guinness Handicap success over this route and a more recent Curragh success.
Rajik is at his best coming off a fast pace on the current fast ground but might not prosper again if this turns out to be a tactical affair as Scandal Sheet attempts to reverse placings with Swan's splendid money-spinner from the Guinness promotion.
Scandal Sheet's trainer Jim Bolger and rider Kevin Manning have quite a strong team heading west for this fixture and it's possible they could record a treble as both Deorai and Bipasha scored last time out and Stephen's Green can make it third time lucky in the finale.
Stepping up two furlongs in trip will hardly prevent the Choisir colt Deorai from following up last week's Sligo breakthrough with only three rivals to battle with in the Donnelly's of Barna Auction Race, which went to stablemate Puncher Clynch a year ago.
The Rock Of Gibraltar filly Bipasha certainly wasn't winning out of turn earlier this month at Leopardstown in the colours of Bolger's daughter Fiona and a 5lb penalty might not prove her undoing in the Trappers Inn Handicap which opens the Jackpot.
Although lightly raced, Stephen's Green came up short when favourite for the Leopardstown maiden won instead by Amber Grey; the son of North Light looked in need of a greater stamina test and can prosper now over a mile and a half in the Henderson Hypnosis Maiden.
Meanwhile, the jumpers are catered for this afternoon during Downpatrick's Bank Holiday meeting set to be staged on a faster surface than in Galway and these conditions should play to the strengths of Boragh Princess, Watermelon, Excellent As Usual and McSwynes Bay, all of which ran second last time out.
The same observation could apply also in the Aiming To Succeed Novice Hurdle to Ted Walsh's charge Hail Caesar, which palpably struggled to cope with rain-softened ground when odds-on for a similar contest at Roscommon a fortnight ago and can recoup some of those losses by outpacing the busy Imperial Shabra.