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leopardstown racecourse 15 06 2023 top picks sport preview

Leopardstown Racecourse 15/06/2023 – Top Picks

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Leopardstown Racecourse – Thursday 15th June

Royal Ascot is less than a week away now. We do have some good racing to enjoy this weekend and that starts with Thursday evenings card at Leopardstown, where the Group 3 Ballycorus stakes is the feature. Here are our teams’ best bets on the card.

4:45 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden

Johnny Murtagh’s filly has not been seen since finishing 5th in a maiden at Naas back in September but there is a lot of substance to that form. The race was won by the now 99-rated Bold Discovery, in second was the subsequent Yeats Stakes winner Peking Opera, whilst the 3rd, 6th and 8th have all won races since. RERKHA was slowly away but made good late headway as she learned on the job, eventually finishing a never nearer 5th, beaten just over 5-lengths. She is by Kodiac out of the Group 3 winner Rehana and could well be expected to improve as a 3-year-old given her pedigree. The 9-month absence is a slight concern, but the Murtagh yard have been operating at a consistent 15% strike rate in 2023, with a Run to Form ratio of 63% in the last 14-days and so there shouldn’t be too many concerns over her fitness. Whilst there are some obvious dangers, Perseid and Bella Blue Eyes chief among them, most of her rivals are relatively exposed at this stage and she looks to be the most likely improver in the field. She will have learned a lot from her debut at Naas and may not need to find too much improvement to win a race like this. Well drawn in stall 5, she should be more streetwise at the start this time and if able to get into a reasonably prominent position, she should at least hit the frame.

5:55 – Tri Equestrian Ballycorus Stakes (Group 3)

With just 5-days until the start of Royal Ascot, it is no surprise to see the strength of the lineup for this race looking a little bit below par. Timeform rates the last 5 winners of this race with a figure of 115, but a look through the form guide would really appear to only point to one horse who may be capable of running to that level, OCEAN JEWEL. A winner at Down Royal in September, she made a very promising return when 3rd to The Antarctic in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes at Naas last month, beaten less than a length. Having travelled extremely strongly behind the pace, she looked the most likely winner as they approached the closing stages, but just appeared to tire in the final 50-yards, although she did stick to her task well. She should improve for the benefit of that run and as a half-sister to the 1,000 Guineas winner Mother Earth, there shouldn’t be any real concern about her staying the 7-furlong trip. She remains a highly exciting filly and looks to have been found an excellent opportunity by Willie McReery to win her first pattern race

7:00 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap

Whilst we have 13-runners going to post, the list of Fillies who could be considered to be in form is very short and that could mean that it will pay to focus on the less exposed types. Top of that list would be OPERATIC ARTIST. Trained by Joseph O’Brien, she is a Zoffany Filly from a fair Cape Cross family. Having finished 5th in a pair of maidens at Down Royal and Gowran Park in the autumn, she made a very pleasing return in a maiden at Listowel at the start of this month when a never nearer fourth. Having raced towards the rear in a steadily run race, she was forced wide off the home bend but continued to make good late headway in the final furlong to eventually finish 5-lengths behind the winner who had a much easier passage on the front end. Her connections are clearly keen to get started on her handicap career and an opening mark of 74 looks very fair on the balance of her form in those 3 starts. With a fair draw in stall 5, she shouldn’t be so far back this time under Mikey Sheehy and if she finds further improvement, she may well prove too good for most if not all of her rivals who lack any recent form of note.

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