IT WILL BE CLOSE IN THE PHOENIX: Today Daqman previews the Phoenix Stakes, Saturday’s big two-year-old test at the Curragh, with a form guide which suggests that the ratings are closer than they seem.
TOMORROW: The Shergar Cup as Daqman continues to lock horns with Pricewise of the Racing Post. Score Daqman 40, Pricewise 26
⚠️ HEADS UP Record prizemoney of £550,000 for tomorrow’s Shergar Cup at Ascot has failed to attract a full complement of runners: the 10-runners-per field target was missed when only eight declared for the 1.35 Classified Stakes.
⚠️ HEADS UP The field-size row is already brewing on the Newmarket July Course today when just 34 runners have been declared all night, with just one race commanding the eight-horse quota for each-way backers to get three places.
⚠️ HEADS UP Average crowds on England’s race tracks fell by nearly 20% in June after a 29% crash in May.
⭕ 4.15 The Curragh, Saturday (Keeneland Phoenix Stakes) They were all star names for a while – Air Force Blue, Sioux Nation, Siskin – but recent Phoenix winners rarely reach the big time, though Saturday’s clash is being hailed as a kingmaker. Probables with official ratings:
115 BLACKBEARD Beaten favourite, not reach leaders, fourth to Bradsell and Persian Force in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. But won the Robert Papin from Tuesday’s Cabourg winner, The Antarctic.
114 BRADSELL Not seen since his Coventry triumph, which has allowed Blackbeard to climb the ratings above him, though he was only fourth at Ascot.
110 PERSIAN FORCE Followed up his Coventry second by readily winning the July Stakes and will be dangerous if the ground remains good.
110 LITTLE BIG BEAR Unbeaten since his debut, gradually stepping through the ranks to win the (Listed) Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and then the Anglesey (Group 3) here at the Curragh.
106 SHARTASH Headed Blackbeard in the final strides to win the Railway Stakes at the Curragh in June, deserving a 106 mark at the time, but can be upgraded after his recent exploits have shot Blackbeard up the ladder to 115.
100 APACHE OUTLAW Not reach leaders, third to Shartash and Blackbeard in the Railway Stakes at little more than a length. Again, his performance can be upgraded.
⭕ 2.20 Brighton today (Brighton Bullet) Pink Crystal, sole second-season player, tries to land a hat-trick for the three-year-olds in this.
Crystal’s yard won the Bullet last year with a class-5 winner, same kind of form which has the William Haggas Shamardal filly in the Pink this afternoon after 2-3.
Haggas has had 13 winners in the last two weeks.
Her jockey, Tom Marquand, knows all about Recon Mission, on whom he won at Sandown two weeks back from Impeach at levels. As they used to say, there’s the width of a cigarette-paper between them now at revised weights.
Brighton CD winner Sir Oliver is a pound behind Pink Crystal in the ratings but gives her 3lb.
Betdaq Betting Exchange 2.72 Pink Crystal
⭕ 6.45 Tipperary (Churchill Stakes) A 7f+ two-year-old test for potential stayers which Aidan O’Brien won with the subsequent Irish Derby and Doncaster St Leger winner, Capri (2016).
His representative tonight, Greenland, is fancied to turn around Killarney form with the filly Papilio, but she went clear that day and is well mature, with a racing mind and still gets 5lb.
Hellsing has run second here in a Group 3 and the grey La Dolce Vita has finished third in one. Pearling Path and Lakota Sioux were second and third in the Chesham behind Holloway Boy, who was beaten favourite at Goodwood in the Vintage Stakes.
Serious Challenge and Pandora Lovegood are out again quickly after winning at the Galway Festival.
BETDAQ value 8.6 Papilio
⭕ 7.10 Newmarket There are just 34 runners all night, with the only race of eight probables or more a maiden of unraced two-year-olds (at 6.35), which is likely dominated by Local Dynasty (Charlie Appleby) and Maasai Mara (Team Gosden).
In this class-2 handicap over 1m 6f, Achnamara – 7lb better off – should confirm Doncaster places with Giavellotto.
They were second and third behind a Gosden youngster from the same yard as Law Of The Sea, who was fifth in the 2021 Queen’s Vase and will be suited by the ground.
Law Of The Sea disappointed on his reappearance after being gelded, and the market may tell us whether he’s ready this time, after another 131-day holiday.
BETDAQ value 4.2 Achnamara
2.20 Brighton (win 12 nap)
BET 7pts win PINK CRYSTAL
6.45 Tipperary (win 20)
BET 2.5pts win PAPILIO
7.10 Newmarket (win 10)
BET 3pts win ACHNAMARA
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