Leopardstown selections Saturday 10th September
With British racing cancelled as a mark of respect for The Queen, the attention of all racing fans turns to Leopardstown for the first half of Irish Champions Weekend. On an action packed and varied card I am looking to the two handicaps and two of the group races for bets.
Leopardstown 2.05: Final Voyage
A successful horse on the All Weather for original handler James Tate in the UK, FINAL VOYAGE has not had many chances to shine since joining Johnny Murtagh, but this might be an ideal occasion to see him in his best light.
Tate tends to specialise with All Weather wins so I am very hopeful this horse will prove at least as effective on turf – at least with some cut. Certainly his first run at Cork for Murtagh showed promise when fifth, beaten just 2l on his first start for six months. We did not see him again though until he ran at Dundalk’s big meeting last month. That run over an inadequate 6f saw him finish strongly and I am sure 7f will be far more his trip, especially a stiff track like this.
Stall six should be a plus and he has been dropped 3lbs for those two runs this season, which will help too. There is every chance he has been laid out for a big autumn prize such as this.
Leopardstown 3.10: Beamish
I started evaluating this race by looking for reasons why Earl of Tyrone would not win, and have ended it by plumping instead for stablemate BEAMISH.
Earl of Tyrone might well gain an easy lead here, but he has been doing his running of late on fast ground and slower conditions are not sure to suit. It will favour Beamish though. He won on all his first three starts, including a maiden here on fast ground. However he achieved far more when winning two soft ground races earlier this season.
He beat Ebendi at Killarney comfortably, then defeated Yaxeni in listed company at Roscommon. The second home has franked the form since by dotting up in a listed race at Galway on her only start since. Beamish then showed he belonged in Group company when staying on well into third behind Gear Up here last month. However he did tend to hang on the quick ground when asked for maximum effort and I am ssure he will be happier on this sort of going.
Leopardstown 3.45: Vadeni
Whilst pretty much all seven runners have claims on their very best form, only VADENI has been doing it all season and I think he is simply the best horse in the race.
He was a narrow winner over Mishriff in the Eclipse last time, but again showed his ability to quicken up and a drying day today won’t do him any harm. He was prior to that a brilliant winner of the French Derby on slower ground and is a fast improving horse rated a machine by his trainer.
Tactically he is versatile and I think there are ifs and buts about all the rest. Mishriff can miss the break and won’t want it too soft, Alenquer was disappointing at Sandown, Luxembourg will need to improve on his last run, whilst Onesto might want a stiffer test of stamina. Aidan’s other two don’t quite look good enough on form.
Leopardstown 5.30: Temple of Artemis & La Hacienda
The biggest field of the day, merits two against the field.
TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS is the unexposed runner in the field, who I marked down as a horse to progress into top handicaps when he won on rain softened ground at the big Chester meeting in the spring. We have only seen him once since for various reasons (including fast ground), but he was not disgraced when fourth at the Curragh last month.
For now however, big handicaps are probably his level and I think the move to reach for first time headgear today is significant. The time for group races is coming, but he would need to be nearly winning this to prove up to that standard.
LA HACIENDA is a fast improving mare, transformed by headgear in recent months. Her form had been modest to say the least last season, and she showed nothing in four runs over hurdles. First time cheekpieces produced a dramatic improvement when she won over course and distance in July.
She showed that to be no fluke when winning twice more on softer going since. She won at the Galway Festival and then most recently at Killarney. She is up another 4lbs today, but if the first time blinkers have a positive effect, then more improvement can be forthcoming.
0.5pts each-way – Final Voyage – 2.05 Leopardstown – 20/1 Bet365 (1/5 odds 1st 5)
1pt each-way – Beamish – 3.10 Leopardstown – 5/1 Paddy Power (1/5 odds 1st 4)
1pt win – Vadeni – 3.45 Leopardstown – 11/8 general
1pt each-way – Temple of Artemis – 5.30 Leopardstown – 7/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 6)
0.5pts each-way – La Hacienda – 5.30 Leopardstown – 9/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 6)