Rivellino looks set to score big for Burke team
The wallet and the liver are getting weary after the best part of a week of Galway and Goodwood, although we still have two days left of the former and one of the latter so there's little time to take a rest just yet.
Aidan O'Brien's Minding was a brilliant winner of the 1,000 Guineas and is by far the best in her class so this afternoon's Nassau Stakes at Goodwood (3.10) is a race best watched without a bet, with the Galileo filly expected to go off as short as 1/3.
Having said that, the old adage that there's no such thing as a certainty in racing was proved true once again when she was beaten in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at 4/11. In-running punters on the exchanges were left even worse off having backed her down to 1/10 mid-race although for every backer there's a layer, and someone managed to make a few quid somewhere.
She has, of course, since proved that it was just a blip and she seemed at ease with the extra distance to win the Oaks at 10/11. A facile victory in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh followed, and the only one that I can see getting anywhere near to her today is John Gosden's Swiss Range, which was a little stretched to finish a disappointing ninth in last month's French Oaks.
However, some Goodwood races do offer a bit of value and with 28 runners, there's plenty to choose from in the Stewards' Cup (3.45), for which Orion's Bow and Dancing Star are vying for favouritism in the early markets, with both horses trading at 6/1 yesterday.
With a nice little picket fence beside his name, Orion's Bow certainly catches the eye on the race card and his five straight handicap wins have left the assessors struggling to keep up.
He went from 69 to 97 in the ratings over those five races and trainer Dandy Nicholls must be given huge credit for the shrewd way he's handled his race entries.
Once again he's ahead of the handicapper as he makes a quick return to racing on his un-revised mark of 97, albeit with a 6lb penalty for his latest win in the Scottish Stewards' Cup on Friday.
He's certainly in with a great chance although punters have got stuck into the ante-post markets and the value has mostly dried up.
Dancing Star slips in at the bottom of the weights for Andrew Balding and is also on a penalty for her recent win at Newmarket but once again, the price looks a little short in such a big field. Then again, the last two winners of this race were both priced 6/1 so perhaps I'm being a little over-sensitive to the odds on offer here.
But chalked up at 25/1 in the early markets, I'm happy to side with Rivellino, which was third in this race last year off the same mark of 100 at an outside price of 33/1.
Karl Burke's six-year-old later won a Listed race at Lingfield and went up to 104 in the ratings but he struggled in a Group Three last time and is back down to a realistic level. At the prices, he can be taken each-way.
Back home at Galway, Dermot Weld's Firey Speech will no doubt prove popular in the betting for the An Pucan EBF Nursery Handicap (4.25), but I'm quite keen on Famous Milly, which risks being overlooked in the early markets around 12/1.
A daughter of Famous Name, the Gavin Cromwell-trained filly has a bloodline which suggests she'll appreciate longer trips and seemed a little one-paced in her first two races over 7f at Leopardstown.
She was much improved to finish second in a maiden at Down Royal recently and her initial handicap mark of 69 seems fair.
Also at Ballybrit, Peter Fahey's Appy Days is an interesting entry in the bumper (6.05) and I'd be happy to take her forecast price of 9/2 if it's available in the betting ring this evening.
The six-year-old is related to some decent sorts, and ran much better than her SP of 20/1 suggested when racing for the first time in a bumper at Roscommon this month. The form of that race is only starting to take shape but it's looking reasonably good and a couple of horses which Appy Days beat that day have gone on to improve.
Her jockey Finny Maguire, who is having a pretty good festival, is a lot of value for his 5lb claim although there's been whispers about Willie Mullins' Queen Deirdre so it will be interesting to see what way the market ends up come race time.
The Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Galway (3.15) has a pot of over €47,000 and I reckon the Desmond McDonogh-trained Little Haarth, which was available around 8/1 yesterday evening, has a great chance at finishing in the money.
Paul Townend gets the ride on this six-year-old which won a handicap hurdle at Ballinrobe 11 days ago and although the assessor has raised his mark by half a stone, the gelding seems to be going places and it might not be enough to hold him back. Willie Mullins' Westerner Lady, which has won her latest two races and is likely to go chasing soon, is the obvious danger horse under Ruby Walsh.
2.15 Newmarket: Fireglow
3.15 Galway: Little Haarth (e/w)
3.45 Goodwood: Rivellino (e/w)
4.25 Galway: Famous Milly
6.05 Galway: Appy Days