CELTIC Dane looks to have every chance of winning today's Growise Handicap at Leopardstown.
I have been waiting for the horse to run again since he scrambled home on his seasonal debut at the same track in late March, crediting Samantha Bell, who retains the ride today, with her first and only win under Rules.
Celtic Dane should not have won last time. He was a shade keen in the rear of the field over a mile and two furlongs, the pace cut out by favourite Gimli's Rock. Celtic Dane was only 10th when they approached the straight and to win from there, given that the pace was slow, suggested that he is sufficiently well-treated to do so again.
The beauty of the win -- given the margins that separated the first four -- is that the handicapper was compelled to go easy on the son of Danetime. Winner of the race off 85, Celtic Dane got promoted just three pounds for the success, a negligible punishment that is more akin to the all-weather in Britain than Irish flat racing.
So he runs today off 88. Two seasons ago, Celtic Dane had a three-figure mark and his last success prior to this season was in the Ulster Derby over a mile and five furlongs so today's trip is within his compass.
Although Bell lacks the strength of a senior rider, her 10-pound claim makes a considerable difference and the horse only carries eight stone and 10 pounds as a consequence this afternoon. He looks the best-treated horse in the race.
The Dermot Weld-trained Sublime Talent was disappointing when last seen on the flat, while Zerashan may well struggle off a mark of 94. If Bell can get Celtic Dane to settle, he should be there or therabouts at the business end at about 4/1. Take the best price this morning.
Celtic Dane at Leopardstown, 1pt each way at best morning odds
THEY have been talking for a while about the inevitability of a rise in Dublin hurling -- that they would one day be a challenge to Kilkenny. Who would have thought that in 2011 they would trounce the Cats in a League final?
The Dubs are now just 11/2 to win a Leinster championship, Kilkenny pushed out to 8/13. Galway are 3/1, though they have their own questions to answer after two defeats late on in the League.
Down, meanwhile, look a bet at 5/6 to beat Armagh in the Ulster SFC on May 28. Armagh are far too reliant on Steven McDonnell, their League campaign exposing the lack of strength in depth in their team. Down, in contrast, have an attack that would rival that of any in Ireland.
Down to beat Armagh, 2pts at 5/6 (William Hill, Boylesports)
IT might be worth taking Manchester United on in today's captivating Premier League clash against Chelsea.
The Blues bring enormous momentum with them to Old Trafford and they will appreciate that the destiny of the title is pretty much in their hands.
Arsenal's win over Alex Ferguson's side advertised their limitations and Chelsea will be full of confidence today after clawing the gap back to three from 15.
United know that a draw will suit them and effectively end the title race.
Their home record is excellent but the last team to beat them at Old Trafford was Chelsea and it is not as though this is an exceptional United team.
Lay Manchester United to beat Chelsea, 1pt at 2.4 (1.4pt liability, Betfair)
YEAR TO DATE
Profit/loss to €10 stake: -€95.59
Still running: €140
Sunday Indo Sport