Wayne Bailey: 'Impressive Iridessa will relish the trip in Irish Oaks'
These days, the word 'flair' is usually used to describe talent and style. But five or six hundred years ago, someone with flair - or 'flayre' as it was then spelled - may not have been welcome as it related to someone or something which gave off an odour.
The word originally comes from the Latin word 'fragrare,' which is associated with the word fragrance, and was often used in relation to hunting and an animal's ability to track a sent.
One man who is regularly described as having plenty of flair, hopefully in the modern sense only, is Frankie Dettori - who rode at Killarney races for the first time on Wednesday, giving the fixture a great lift.
Dettori always injects a bit of style and fun into a meeting, and despite the fact that he's closer in age to 50 than 40, he still has the bookmakers running for cover.
A lot of the old enemy have come under fire for restricting payouts on multiple bets on his horses lately, especially at Ascot. Whatever about a small-time bookmaker who can't afford to lose a significant part of his business on a very costly multiple, the bigger firms restricting or banning multiples on Dettori leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Once again, it proves that profit from punters is the only show in town, as far as they are concerned. I digress.
Dettori failed to find a winner at Killarney, but he's back again at the Curragh today to ride Star Catcher for John Gosden in the Group One Kerrygold Irish Oaks (5.10). There's not a lot of data to go on but Dettori's record at Irish HQ is reasonably good with six wins from 33 races in the last 10 years, and a €59 profit to a €10 stake if blindly backed to SP.
Indeed, apart from Aidan O'Brien's winners, raiders have had the upper hand in the Irish Oaks in the last decade and Dettori is a four-time winner, the most recent being in 2017 when on board Enable.
Star Catcher is progressive and getting better with each run - but while she looked impressive in winning the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last time, it wasn't the strongest renewal we've seen, so the step up here could be tough. She's got more to come but perhaps not enough just yet to win this, and early odds of 4/1 seem about right.
You can never rule out any of Aidan O'Brien's horses as we've seen time and time again but Pink Dogwood is head of the pecking order under Ryan Moore. She was second behind Anapurna in the Epsom Oaks in May, with stablemate and today's other rival Fleeting back in third.
A neck-second in the Oaks is a fine piece of form but she couldn't follow up in the Pretty Polly Stakes last time, finishing third at 11/10, which is a worry for today and it makes her odds of 5/2 seem slim.
Instead, I'm going to be unoriginal here and vote for the winner of that Pretty Polly race Iridessa, which is a great price in my book at 9/4. Trained by Joseph O'Brien, she loved the step up in trip from a mile to a mile and a quarter, and I'm convinced that she'll relish the extra two furlongs here today.
A Group One winner at a mile back in October, she had struggled at that distance this term, but she appeared to be flying past the finish line in the Pretty Polly and the Irish Oaks looks ideal.
Of the rest, Ralph Beckett's improver Manuela De Vega has each-way claims at around 8/1 following her fourth place behind the others mentioned in the Epsom Oaks.
Across the water at Newbury, I'm very keen on The Tin Man to get his career back on track in the Group Three Bet365 Hackwood Stakes (3.0), which he won in 2016. Now aged seven, James Fanshawe's gelding seems out of his depth in Group One company and never looked like winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last time in which he finished sixth.
He has excuses for a loss in a Listed race in May and the step down from the top level to Group Three can give him the boost he needs, priced around 9/4.
Do the double
A 10-point win over Mayo saw Kerry’s odds of winning the All-Ireland cut to 5/1, but the Dubs are still firm favourites, of course, at 8/15. As for tomorrow, the Kingdom look like good value at around 8/11 to beat a Donegal side which have injury concerns including Eoghan Bán Gallagher, who is reported to have broken an ankle in training this week. That leaves their defence quite vulnerable.
John Gosden’s Sparkle Roll is closely related to some decent sorts, including Epsom Derby winner Wings Of Eagles, and while I mentioned in the main column that this year’s Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot was not the strongest renewal, her third place in that race is enough to go on as she drops down to Listed level today at Newmarket (2.40). That’s the best piece of form on offer here and she’s the one to beat at 5/2.
At the time of writing, the Hughie Morrison-trained Temple Church is friendless in the markets for the Marsh Cup Handicap (2.25 Newbury) at 33/1.
While it’s fair to say he’s got questions to answer following some poor runs late last season and on his return this year, his rating was too high in the region of 98-100, and he’s back down to a realistic 96 for today. He did win a race last season off 94 here at Newbury on heavy ground, but he also acts on today’s expected good to firm. He may just spring a surprise at a big price.
*Last week’s each-way selection, Another Touch, was placed at 50/1.
2.25 Newbury: Temple Church (e/w)
2.40 Newmarket: Sparkle Roll
3.0 Newbury: The Tin Man
4.35 Curragh: Romanised
5.10 Curragh: Iridessa