Talent's staying power can seal Oaks success for Beckett
WHILE looking up some data on the various Flat racecourses of Ireland, I found it interesting to see that favourites perform consistently well at some tracks, while they struggle at others.
Overall, Flat favourites in Ireland have an average strike rate of 32pc, but at Galway, for example, punters face an uphill battle, with only 27pc of the jollies coming home in front over the last 10 years.
Compare that to a course like Tipperary at 44pc, and you will see why the Tipp punters might go to the races with an extra spring in their step.
The reasons for such discrepancies across the country's racecourses are varied. Things like the average field size, race type and the quality of racing at the course all play their part and you also have to allow for a certain amount of randomness when dealing with any large group of numbers.
The human mind is trained to try find patterns even when none exist – but if a certain racecourse like Tipperary is constantly near the top of the table for successful favourites year-on-year, there's a good chance it's not just random.
In other words, a racecourse's data, if consistent, might be something you should consider before you have a bet.
The Curragh is below average for winning favourites at 29pc, which is useful to know, but not enough for me to factor it into my betting today.
What I consider quite interesting is how well the market leaders have performed in certain individual races at the Curragh, such as the Irish Oaks, which goes to post at 6.15.
In the past 16 renewals, the winner has come from the top two in the betting on 12 occasions so, if you are one for following trends, it might be best to concentrate on Riposte and Talent, both of which are vying for favouritism in and around 5/2.
The former's win in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot was quite emotional for connections coming so soon after Henry Cecil's death and Lady Cecil has said her preparations for this evening's race have gone very smoothly.
While it would be nice to see the Warren Place representative come to Ireland and claim the prize Cecil last won in 1999, we have to leave sentiment to one side when looking at the filly's CV.
Visually, her Ribblesdale win seemed impressive and it was a good news story for all involved, but let's be honest; this year's Ribblesdale could hardly be described as a vintage renewal (a number of horses pulled out due to the ground) and as such, it didn't take a whole lot to win it.
Closely related to the dam of Frankel, her breeding suggests she'll be a smart filly, but she still races a little green for my liking and I reckon she'll need a couple more runs before she unleashes her true potential.
Instead, Ralph Beckett's Talent gets the vote. She has the form in the book, having won the Oaks at Epsom, and has shown more each time they stepped her up in trip. She's got plenty of stamina so it will be interesting to see what tactics are employed by Jim Crowley today as she clearly likes a good gallop.
Chicquita is another one to watch, although she's a somewhat quirky character who seems to get herself into trouble in-running.
THE Paul Nicholls-trained Woolcombe Folly is a temperamental sort who can't always be trusted, although he has ability and put in two decent efforts when placed in a couple of useful handicaps in May.
He was off the bridle a long way out at Stratford last time, but he battled to finish second. He's up 3lbs for his effort which makes him topweight for the Betfred Summer Plate (3.30 Market Rasen), but provided his stamina holds out, he should be thereabouts again at 10/1.
3.05 Newmarket: Safety Check
3.30 Market Rasen: Woolcombe Folly (e/w)
4.15 Newmarket: Narmin
4.40 Curragh: Oklahoma City
5.40 Curragh: Gordon Lord Byron
6.15 Curragh: Talent
Do The Double
Despite having home advantage, the Kildare backs are going to find life difficult against Tyrone tonight, with former footballer of the year Stephen O'Neill back in the Red Hands line-up following an Achilles injury. Tyrone can just about edge it at 8/13.
Narmin caught the eye when fourth at Newbury on her debut and, although she failed to come on for that run at Newmarket last time, she sets the standard in the Tamdown Shell & Core Maiden Stakes and is expected to progress this afternoon, priced around 5/4 (4.15 Newmarket).
* Last week's double was successful at an overall price of 13/2.