Wednesday 17 January 2018

Bell raider worth another Cut

T ODAY'S Irish Derby is little more than a glorified Group Two and the Curragh executive will surely be worried about attendance figures holding up, despite the hot weather.

Sea The Stars was a late defection from the race last year, rendering it little more than a Ballydoyle baton-passing exercise. Today, Aidan O'Brien runs five, with the Epsom runner-up At First Sight at 25/1. The favourite, Cape Blanco, could only manage tenth in the French equivalent last time.

Imponderables abound. Why did Johnny Murtagh desert Epsom fourth Jan Vermeer, despite the hasty excuse post-Epsom that his preparation had been rushed? Was there an obvious reason for Cape Blanco's lifeless Chantilly effort? What sort of gallop will they go today, given that Jan Vermeer may not fully get a mile and a half?

It says much that Monterosso is only a 3/1 chance. He was a commanding King Edward winner at Royal Ascot, but the runner-up was rated 78. Coincidentally, a few months ago Monterosso was rated 78 too -- and now he is on the verge of Irish Derby favouritism.

Every horse in this race has something to prove, few more so than Coordinated Cut, which is put forward purely because there are so many doubts about everything else and he is nearly 20/1 on Betfair.

Michael Bell's colt has only had five runs. He finished four lengths behind Cape Blanco in the Dante, with Workforce splitting the pair. The Derby itself was a bit of a non-event for the son of Montjeu. He stumbled leaving the gates and then pulled in rear off an even gallop.

Shaping as though he would be better served by a more conventional track, Coordinated Cut ran on nicely from a hopeless position into seventh, finishing around a length behind Jan Vermeer, which was well positioned throughout and is a 4/1 chance today. Bell's charge would have had no chance pulling hard off medium fractions and he reportedly worked very well last week.


Coordinated Cut to win Irish Derby, 0.5pt win at 19/1 (Betfair)

THERE is considerable expectation in Connacht today that Sligo can go to Pearse Stadium and beat Galway. Many of those forecasting a Sligo victory hail from Galway.

Nicky Joyce has been one of the Tribesmen's best players over the past few generally forgettable years and his absence today is perhaps more significant than Michael Meehan's, though the Caltra forward should feature at some stage.

Joe Kernan has named Pádraic Joyce at full-forward, with Seán Armstrong starting at 11. Joyce is no better generally than 11/4 to notch a goal throughout the 70 minutes, but Boylesports go 4/1 and that looks a shade big.

The Killererin great is nearing the end of his intercounty days, but if age is gradually depriving him of those physical assets that helped make him the player he was, his great footballing brain remains. Expect Joyce to get a goal chance or two -- mainly because of his astute positional sense -- and he is a brilliant finisher from close range.

The game seems hard to call and Galway have more questions to answer than those arising merely from their insipid showing in New York.


Pádraic Joyce to score a goal v Sligo, 0.5pt at 4/1 (Boylesports)

WHY are England favourites to beat Germany? Germany are ranked higher and have been playing better than them since the World Cup started. England look brittle mentally, with the usual story of several of their players underperforming.

England have been backed into 1.93 to qualify and that is worth a lay. If it goes to penalties, expect Germany to usurp Fabio Capello's men as favourites and that is very possible, though it should be a pretty open game.


Lay England to qualify v Germany, 1pt at 1.93 (1.93pt liability, Betfair)


Profit to €10 stake: €242.28

Still running: €135

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