THE PUNTER'S EYE: Five horses to follow at the Curragh this weekend

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

THE PUNTER'S EYE: Five horses to follow at the Curragh this weekend

The Punter's Eye has delved into this weekend's cards at the Curragh to find value and winners. These are the five horses he believes to be the ones to side with at the Kildare track. 

Saturday, June 10 - Curragh

Johnny Murtagh's charge TOOFAMILIAR (11/4) was impressive enough on debut to warrant another crack here in a better race at 15:00 on Saturday. It's been almost two months since he won that first outing, beating the likes of CROWN LEAH and SUMMERSEAT MIST in the process. CROWN LEAH hasn't run again since, but SUMMERSEAT MIST has placed on both his subsequent starts. The most recent was a third-placed finish behind the exciting DECLARATION OF PEACE from the Aidan O'Brien yard. He was seven lengths behind him but it represents a good franking of TOOFAMILIAR's form. VERHOYEN seems to be the fancied runner in this, but he's proven difficult to win with in three starts. Third, fifth and second-placed finishes make for frustrating reading and he is overlooked again here. 

In the 16:10, ALFREDO ARCANO (3/1) cuts an interesting profile, having shown a good level of consistency recently. He hasn't been out of the front 4 in each of his last six starts, and with two wins during that run, he comes here with a live chance. David Marnane's three-year old was fourth last time in a bunch finish, less than a length behind the winner, SOLAR HALO. That one ran well again since, as did the third-placed horse on that occasion. He carries a nice low weight in a tricky contest and appeared to act very well at the Curragh on his only run at the track in that most recent start. He should come on again and barring issues in running, he'll be right there as they come to the line. SON OF REST is a danger but top weight might just anchor his challenge, while PATUANO is intriguing from a basement weight. 

The 16:45 race on the card offers each-way backers a nice opportunity to get involved. The handicap event over two miles has attracted a host of interesting entrants, including Gordon Elliott's BAYAN who was twice placed at the Cheltenham festival, but has not being sighted since 2015. It may be worth siding with Jessica Harrington's in-form yard in the shape of NEVERUSHACON (6/1). Despite falling in a handicap chase lately, this test will be right up his street on the flat, and he has to be taken seriously given some of his earlier form. His display behind DON'T TOUCH IT at the Punchestown festival was more than pleasing as he was just one length behind his stable companion that day, and spectators who saw DON'T TOUCH IT's performance that day will know just how much of a feat it was to stay so close to him. This one may yet harbour further improvement and without the obstacles, could get back to winning ways. TIGRIS RIVER and MICRAS rate best of the rest. 

MODERN APPROACH (2/1) is horse whose performance trajectory is going the right way, and could be a serious prospect in the 17:20 race on Saturday evening. A select field of five goes to post, and Jim Bolger's improving three-year-old makes more appeal than any of his rivals. He came fourth on debut in March but came on from that to finish as runner-up the next day, and managed to get his head in front on his third and most recent start at Gowran. That race saw him beat LOVEMENOT, a horse who had finished third to the very impressive NAUGHTY OR NICE on debut a few weeks earlier. MODERN APPROACH itself finished second behind HOMESMAN recently, and that also represents impressive form, meaning two pages in his form book read very well. Two Aidan O'Brien runners, SIR EDWIN LANDSEER and EAGLE SPIRIT, pose dangers given their connections, but they have proved difficult to win with and are opposed. 

Sunday, June 11 - Curragh

On Sunday, course form will stand to PETICOATGOVERNMENT (10/1) in the 15:55 who was very impressive while plugging on for second place at the Curragh late last month. He came home less than a length behind RATTLING JEWEL that day and had the likes of MAAREK and SORS behind him, two horses who have performed well at the Curragh over the years. The big draw in this race is ONLY MINE, who could well still prove to be a classy sort, but despite beating the likes of WASHINGTON DC last year, the four-year-old filly has been sorely disappointing since. MUSIC BOX could be the big improver in the field for Aidan O'Brien and she is feared more than most. It's big step up in class for PETICOATGOVERNMENT into Group 3 company, but the consistency she has shown of late warrants respect, even at this level.

SELECTION SNAPSHOT:

Saturday:

Curragh 15:00 - Toofamiliar - WIN - 11/4 (NB)

Curragh 16:10 - Alfredo Arcano - WIN - 3/1

Curragh 16:45 - Neverushacon - EW - 6/1

Curragh 17:20 - Modern Approach - WIN - 2/1 (NAP)

Sunday:

Curragh 15:55 - Peticoatgovernment - EW - 10/1

*Odds are approximate based on market estimates.