'Rosie' can bounce back with a bang for Mullins
Rock-hard underfoot conditions are making life difficult for ground staff and trainers alike this summer with small fields the norm and today's card at Roscommon is no exception.
The track was watered for yesterday evening's seven-race fixture which attracted just 48 runners and there will be watering again today when just six are declared for the Connolly's Red Mills Rated Novice Hurdle.
Fewer runners should make the task easier for punters but quite a few have chances in this one, with John O'Shea's hat-trick-seeking Amschel the likely favourite with Rachael Blackmore up after a good victory in similar conditions at Gowran last month.
Slight preference, though, is for the Willie Mullins-trained Bang Bang Rosie, the mount of Paul Townend.
This consistent sort was beaten into second at Kilbeggan last time when odds-on favourite but can make amends here.
Just eight runners are declared for the Larry Donnelly Memorial Handicap Hurdle and this also looks a tricky assignment for punters. Mouse Morris' bottom weight Spring Watch might take stopping, coming off a victory at Punchestown in May.
Meanwhile, Jessica Harrington confirmed Alpha Centauri an intended runner in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Friday. The daughter of Mastercraftsman followed up her Irish 1,000 Guineas triumph with a scintillating success in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, breaking the track record in the process.
The Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on August 12 was under consideration, but following a pleasing workout under jockey Colm O'Donoghue yesterday morning, Harrington is looking forward to seeing her bid for a Group One hat-trick on the July Course.
"We've given her the green light for the moment," the trainer said. "She worked well this morning and everything was good. We're very happy with her."
Plans for Masar remain on hold until results of scans on the colt's injured leg are known later this week.
The Epsom Derby winner missed the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown after he banged his right off-fore during routine exercise on the eve of the big race.
Trainer Charlie Appleby reports the swelling to have come down, but is awaiting news of checks taken before thinking of future targets for Masar.
Another of Godolphin's leading lights, Harry Angel, is also sidelined with last year's July Cup hero unable to defend his crown after injuring himself coming out of the stalls in Royal Ascot's Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Trainer Clive Cox was hoping his colt - the highest-rated sprinter in the world last year - was on track for a return after cutting a hind leg when getting upset in the stalls, but time has beaten him.
"I'm afraid he won't make it for Saturday," said Cox. "I feel he is still not 100 per cent and won't be ready. You have to be at the top of your game to win a July Cup. I need more time and I feel the Haydock Sprint Cup in September is a realistic plan for him."
In his absence Blue Point, the King's Stand winner who, like Harry Angel, is owned by Godolphin has been installed as favourite.