The Group 1 Irish Oaks takes centre stage at the Curragh on a fantastic Saturday at the Kildare venue. Here Racing Post tipster Graeme Rodway runs through his best bets.
Little Big Bear
Toy @ 6/1
The Jebel Ali Racecourse And Stables Anglesey Stakes (2.03) has gone to Aidan O'Brien in four of the last nine seasons and he has another outstanding candidate in Little Big Bear.
This son of No Nay Never has a big reputation and is unlucky not to be unbeaten in three runs as he was caught only bang on the line when a short-head second on his debut here.
That was over 6f and he has won twice over 5f since, but his victory in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot last time came in spite of the trip. He was under pressure from over a furlong out but kept on in relentless fashion to get up and beat subsequent Listed winner Rocket Rodney.
The front two pulled a length and three quarters clear of the third and Little Big Bear was no stronger than at the finish. He looks certain to improve for a return to further and I'm expecting an impressive display from Little Big Bear over this extra furlong and a half.
Tuesday and Emily Upjohn are notable absentees from the Juddmonte Irish Oaks (3.45) and it doesn't look a strong edition in their absence. With that in mind it might be worth following Ryan Moore, who has chosen to ride Toy ahead of stablemates Emily Dickinson and History.
Toy is a sister to seven winners and six of them were rated 113-plus on Racing Post Ratings. If she could emulate them by reaching that level she would probably be good enough to win this because the red-hot favourite Magical Lagoon has yet to record an RPR higher than 109.
The trip is a worry as all of Toy's relatives were at their best over a mile to 1m2f and that includes the top-class Gleneagles, who won several Group 1s at a mile in 2015. However, Toy made late gains when midfield in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly, hinting she might stay.
If she does get the extra trip she's likely to improve for it and she doesn't have loads to find on her best form, which came when only four and a half lengths behind winner Mangoustine in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp in May. A surprise could be on the cards.
Only ten have been declared for the DMG Media Nursery Handicap (4.50) and it looks like a good opportunity for the Ken Condon-trained Holdonfordearlife to shed his maiden tag.
The Make Believe colt showed promise on his first three starts over 5f, but his latest effort in a 6f maiden at Fairyhouse was eyecatching and it convinces me that he is a winner in waiting.
Holdonfordearlife was only three and a quarter lengths behind winner Apache Outlaw and that looks strong form when you consider that rival finished a close third in a Group 2 at this course next time. My selection also did a lot of his best work late and was strong at the line.
A mark of 79 doesn't look harsh on his nursery debut and further improvement is expected.
By Graeme Rodway.
|Where:||The Curragh Racecourse, County Kildare|
|When:||13:30-17:25, Saturday 16th July|
|How to watch:||Racing TV and bet365's Sports Live Streaming platform|