'Antique' can show true value
Fascinating Rock's excellent Ascot triumph on Saturday was the icing on the cake for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen's 2015 European campaign.
There will be nothing quite so heady on offer at Navan this afternoon, but the in-form duo travel to the Meath venue with a number of live players.
Nothing appeals more than Antique Platinum in the finale. The Holy Roman Emperor four-year-old is an unexposed sort contesting a competitive €19,000 10-furlong handicap for fillies. A winner on her second start at Galway last year, she finished second on her only subsequent outing in her first season, going down by half a length to Sea Coast off a mark of 82 at Cork.
Antique Platinum needed her first run of the year at Navan in July, but built on that when keeping on to be second to Fact Or Folklore at Roscommon off 81. On dropping back to a mile here last month, she was a little outpaced in a cracking contest.
Nonetheless, she still emerged with great credit when fourth behind Ibergman, Cailin Mor and Back On Top, with the latter duo since confirming that it was a hot race by winning in the meantime.
Antique Platinum remains unchanged off 81 now. Maybe more crucially, she is stepping back up to a more suitable trip and will appreciate any rain that falls, so she is nap material to fulfil her potential.
Valac is another likely candidate for the same firm in the mile handicap. Preferred in that, though, is the top-weighted McGuigan for the similarly on-fire Jim Bolger stable.
Andy Oliver's Saturday Cork winner Bunk Off Early also has a life in this, but McGuigan has shown enough over this trip to win a race like this off his rating of 80.
In six starts this year, he has run three times over a mile, finishing second on each occasion. Golden Raven, which beat him here last month on the latest of those three outings, has since won off 87, so that augurs well for Kevin Manning's mount.
While McGuigan wasn't quite as effective over seven furlongs on his most recent start at Fairyhouse, he has conditions in his favour again now.
In the sprint handicap, Smullen could go close aboard Harry Rogers' Calm Bay, which has dropped to a three-pound lower mark than that off which he won at Down Royal in June.
The venerable nine-year-old didn't run as well as he can do at the Curragh earlier in the month. However, having won once and been second twice on his last five visits, this is a track that seems to suit him well.
Earlier, Tommy Stack's Aspar gets the nod to atone for a disappointing Dundalk turn now that he drops to the minimum distance in the opening maiden under Wayne Lordan.
The other juveniles' maiden might go the way of Lord Justice. Aidan O'Brien's home-bred Zoffany colt kept on nicely on his Cork bow. He will need to build on that here, but the suspicion is that he has the scope to do so under the trainer's son, Donnacha.