A very competitive handicap but PLOUGH BOY (12/1) is only three pounds higher than his course and distance victory in August and should be right on the premises. The Garvan Donnelly trained gelding didn’t run all that bad at Chester last time out, a track that didn’t suit. The Curragh is a proper gallopers course so he will feel more at home.
1 HAVE A NICE DAY – Tailed off in a hot Leopardstown handicap last month but his 4th to An Saighdiur over this course and distance puts him into the reckoning off a one pound lower mark. Four time course and distance winner so needs plenty of respect.
2 TEXAS ROCK – Produced a career best performance to win a handicap here at the Curragh over a mile last time out, beating Jacobs Well by a short head. He is up six pounds for that victory and needs to improve once more to win this contest.
3 FIT FOR FUNCTION – Won a minor event at Dundalk on the polytrack last time out on his first try on the surface. Worryingly he was well beat here at the Curragh behind Sors over six furlongs but the step up in trip will be more suitable. Plenty to find on turf form.
4 GREAT WIDE OPEN – Having a successful season for Charles O’Brien with three victories from his last ten starts. Has work to do to reverse the form with Fit For Function on their Dundalk run and he is now 3 pounds higher than when he finished 6th at the Curragh in June. Needs to improve to figure.
5 TRUFFLES – Good second to Sharliyna in a Leopardstown maiden in August and went one better when bolting up at Fairyhouse on heavy ground last time out. Still very low mileage on the clock, looks very progressive and is an interesting horse on handicap debut.
6 GEOLOGICAL – Down the field at the Curragh on Sunday and is a likely non runner after that. Even if he does run, he is in terrible form at present and is easily passed over.
7 PLOUGH BOY – Didn’t handle the quirky nature of Chester when 5th last time out, travelling well throughout. He looked confused at the sharp bends so this straight track will be much more to his liking. Course and distance winner in August and is only three pounds higher. Major player coming from Stall 1.
8 SECRET WIZARD – Finished over 18 lengths behind Texas Rock here at the Curragh last time out but won a decent Galway handicap just prior so maybe that race came too soon. Pat Smullen is an eye-catching booking and the market is your best guide.
9 VERBOSITY – 116 days off the racecourse so is likely to need the run. Won a Cork handicap this time last year but something was amiss when he was last of the six runners at Leopardstown in June. Very hard to fancy taking everything into account. Best watched.
10 CHESTNUT FIRE – Came from a long way back to finish third to Plough Boy over this course and distance when last seen, full of running crossing the line. He has had a 64 day break so he should be fresh and is a big danger to all running off the very same mark (78).
11 RESTIVE – Beat Stellar Mass in a maiden here at the Curragh last year but hasn’t been in the same sort of form since. Good 2nd to Ceol Na Nog at Navan in June but has been tailed off more times than not. Has ability but hard to back with confidence.
12 FEELING EASY – Won over this course and distance last time out, beating 19 other runners. Up six pounds as a consequence so life will be much tougher but a 10 pound claimer replaces the 7 pound claimer so that offsets three pounds. Each way contender.
13 GRANNY MAY – John Feane stable going well at present and this filly is still very lightly raced and could be open to improvement off a mark of 72. Won on debut at Gowran Park but she was well beat by Sea Wolf here at the Curragh last time out. Watch the market.
14 INTENSE STYLIST – Very consistent horse but finds it hard to get her head in front and as a consequence is now winless from 15 runs. Good 3rd at Fairyhouse last time out but has a lot of work to do to reverse a 9 length beating by Truffles.
15 EMPEROR BOB – Finished 6th at the Curragh on Sunday. That was the horses’ first run for the Nicole McKenna stable after leaving David Marnane since winning at Laytown on the beach. Likely non runner.