I do try not to harp on about winning selections because as you all know, there’s plenty of losing ones as well!
But I must mention Galway Hurdle winner Missunited, who while I was delighted to have tipped, I did watch with some misgivings as Too Scoops, who I have a small share in, finished sixth behind her after he did just manage to get into the race.
However, the jubilant scenes in the winner’s enclosure made everything worthwhile and a special mention in despatches must go to winning trainer Michael Winters whose second success in as many runnings is not far short of miraculous.
The Cork trainer is up against the big guns such as Willie Mullins, Dermot Weld and Tony Martin, who himself enjoyed a brilliant week at Ballybrit, and has somehow managed to send out the last two winners of one of the most competitive handicap hurdles in Europe.
Most trainers would be delighted to win this event once in their lifetime, let alone twice in a row!
Too Scoops was unable to make the frame but we were absolutely delighted by his performance, especially as he was bang there until two out and he should make into some performer over the bigger obstacles.
I can’t leave Galway without mention of my good friend Brendan Duke, who had not saddled a winner since June last year but scooped the 7f nursery on Saturday courtesy of the Jim Bolger-owned Focussed.
Irish racing on the flat and over jumps has been dominated by bigger yards in recent years and to see Brendan in tears afterwards, as Bolger has been his friend and mentor since 1978, was an emotional moment encapsulating what our great game should be all about.
It’s not very original but I just can’t get away from War Command in Sunday’s feature Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh after his hugely impressive victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, where he mastered Parbold by six lengths.
The speed that this fellow exhibited at the royal extravaganza was unbelievable, although you could question the form as Parbold could only muster a third in last week’s Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
However, he was only beaten just over a length and a half at Goodwood by possible Guineas contender Toormore, while my selection managed the six at Ascot.
He won’t be much of a price so maybe a forecast is the answer but I’ll leave whose going to finish runner-up up to you!
Unless you like backing short-priced ones, Sunday’s card at The Curragh is very much for the connoisseur as I think Ballydoyle will have a double courtesy of Wonderfully in the Friarstown Stud Debutante Stakes.
Seeing an Aidan O’Brien youngster sporting a visor on just their third outing, which is what happened when my fancy won the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown last time, would normally set alarm bells ringing.
But this time I’m not worried as the champion trainer explained afterwards that she’s lazy when she gets to the front and that’s why she wore it.
I don’t think I’ve ever tipped three such short ones but turning to the golf, I think Tiger Woods will be very hard to beat at a current 4-1 in the USPGA Championship which tees off on Thursday.
If you have an outright bet before the start of the tournament, we’re paying six places, but my money’s on Tiger after he won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational for the eighth time on Sunday leaving me think that he can win a major for the first time in over five years. Woods’s quest can only be assisted by Rory McIlroy’s recent sad drop in form.
Thursday 12.10 Tiger Woods to win USPGA Championship
Sunday Curragh 3.15pm Wonderfully
Sunday Curragh 3.45pm War Command
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