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Cork Racecourse 16/06/2023 – Top Picks

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Cork Racecourse 16/06/2023 – Friday from 4:50pm

Friday evening sees the Flat action move to an ev3ening meeting at Cork which includes one of the highlights of the Flat season there, the Munster Oaks. Our team of Racing experts have looked through the card, including the feature at 6:35 and highlighted 3 selections from the evenings racing.

4:50 – Mallow Maiden

Our first selection comes in the second race on the card in the shape of the Andrew Slattery trained ON OUR RADAR. In truth, this maiden race probably won’t take a lot of winning and most of the runners have had plenty of chances to get their heads in front but On Our Radar looks to be the horse who is capable of most improvement. He was last seen finishing 2nd to Bonny Power in a maiden at Dundalk in February. Having settled in mid-division, he was forced to challenge on the far side of the home straight, which was the slowest part of the track, but still stuck well to his task in the closing stages to chase home a winner who had a much better passage. He was conceding 5lbs to Bonny Power, who is a fair 70-rated handicapper, so based on that form line alone, he looks capable of running close to a mark of 75, which will probably be enough to land this contest for a good draw in stall 1. He has been gelded during his 4-month break and after just 3 starts, he remains open to further progress. In a weak maiden, he should at least hit the frame.

5:25 – Sign up to our Newsletter Handicap

It is an accepted fact that Irish horses have a great record when coming to race in English races, but the same can be said for British horses who make the move to Ireland, especially in Flat handicaps. This was the case with GABRIELLA’S SPIRIT, who made a mockery of her opening mark of 65 to win at Tipperary last time, which was her first start for Ken Condon. She won only 1 of her 12 starts in the UK when she was trained by Eric Alston which was a very modest novice race at Thirsk last September. However, she showed significant improvement on her first start in Ireland to win with any amount in hand at Tipperary, tracking the pace along the stands side rail before running on strongly to assert her dominance in the closing stages. The handicapper has reacted by raising her 9lbs for that win, but she may be capable of defying that rise given the level of form that she showed last time. That win came whilst wearing a tongue-tie for the first time and it is no surprise to see the headgear retained once again. Billy Lee takes over the ride and in a race with a limited number of obvious chances, she gets the vote to double her Irish tally for her new connections.

6:35 – Darley Munster Oaks Stakes (Group 3)

Our final selection comes up in the feature race at 6:35. This looks to be a relatively strong renewal of this race, including last year’s winner Rosscarbery, who sets a very high standard. After winning last season’s renewal of this, she went on to win a Group 3 at Leopardstown and finish 2nd in the Prix Jean Romanet behind Arisita. Even her final start, when a 4-length fifth behind Emily Upjohn in the Fillies and Mares race at Ascot on Champions Day, would be enough to win this race. However, she hasn’t been seen since that Ascot run in October and this looks like a safe starting point for her 2023 campaign, rather than a long-term target. With a lot of weight to concede, especially to the 3-year-olds, she could be vulnerable on her return, and we are keen to take her on. Top of the list was Azazat, who steps into pattern company for the first time for the in-form Dermot Weld team. She finished 3rd on her seasonal return at Leopardstown in April but the form of that 3-length defeat could not have worked out better. The winner, Savethelastdance, went on to win the Cheshire Oaks and finish 2nd to Soul Sister in the Oaks at Epsom a fortnight ago. Whilst the second, Boogie Woogie, won a maiden on her next start before running well in Group company over in France. The front 3 came clear and AZAZAT did her own bit for the form by winning a Leopardstown maiden by 4-lengths on her next start. Although she does need to improve, she has already proven herself to be capable of a pattern class performance and with just 8-9 on her back, she is certainly weighted to do so. This race should setup perfectly for her, with the Aiden O’Brien pair likely to go forwards and set the pace for her to track. If she continues to improve, you can expect to see her competing at the highest levels later in the season, possibly in the Irish Oaks next month, for which she holds an entry. If she truly is an Irish Oaks contender, she should win this race on these terms.

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