THE PUNTER'S EYE: Four horses worth backing this weekend

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Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

The Punter's Eye Horse Racing Tips

The Punter's Eye Horse Racing Tips

In the 14:55 contest on Saturday at the Curragh, it may be worth siding with the top weight, GOLDEN SPELL (3/1) for Johnny Murtagh's yard. A seven-pound claimer will help alleviate some of the weight disadvantage here, and she cannot be dismissed despite a disappointing run last time. Her eight-length loss to HAPPILY at Leopardstown in July was a comprehensive defeat on the face of it, but I think she ran into a good one there. Before that defeat, GOLDEN SPELL had been living up to her name, winning twice earlier last month. She dismantled the field and beat BRICK BY BRICK by eight lengths in the first of those runs, and followed it with a one length success over NAVAJOR DREAMER. Galway winner DEEP BREATH was in third that day and gave the form a good franking at Ballybrit. It's not time to give up on GOLDEN SPELL just yet - she can get back on track this weekend. 

In the 15:30 St Leger trial on Saturday, ORDER OF ST GEORGE will be all the rage for Aidan O'Brien. It will be the horse's first run since finishing second behind BIG ORANGE in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June. At shades of odds-on, I'd tend to shy away from backing the favourite here. Instead, I'd put forward the name RENNETI (12/1), a Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old campaigned over hurdles and on the flat of late. His latest run took my eye when he cruised to a 13-length success over 1M 6F at the Galway Festival. Mid-90s rated sorts, TED VEALE and BENKEI chased him home there, but this does represent a massive step up in class to face the 120-rated ORDER OF ST GEORGE. However, Mullins has booked the champion jockey Pat Smullen and the combination cannot be discounted by any stretch of the imagination. 12/1 is a marvellous price. 

The Group 2 contest at 14:10 on Sunday is a competitive affair with no less than three Ballydoyle challengers for Aidan O'Brien. I will overlook all three in favour of CAMELBACK (4/1) for Ger Lyons. He hasn't put a foot wrong since finishing third on debut in May, going on to win his next two starts. That debut run reads very well in hindsight as he ran into a couple of good ones. BROTHER BEAR won and SIOUX NATION was third, and both have won multiple races since. CAMELBACK registered his first win later that month, seeing off NEW TO TOWN at Leopardstown. All three of Ballydoyle's runners here, BERKELEY SQUARE, COAT OF ARMS, ROSTROPOVICH, were well behind the selection on that occasion. ROSTROPOVICH was behind him again at Naas on July 8 as Ger Lyons' charge clocked up his second win on the bounce. Jim Bolger's THEOBALD is the main danger given his runner-up run recently behind THE PENTAGON.

HAPPILY (2/1), if she takes her chance, has a great shout in the 15:55 race on Sunday at the Curragh. She was beaten by 10 lengths by stable companion SEPTEMBER on debut, but she has won her two races since. She slammed SHALAILAH by over 10 lengths on her second run at the Curragh on yielding ground. The going will be similar on Sunday, giving her form a huge boost. She followed that win with another victory over the same rival, this time by five lengths, at Leopardstown in late July. That was on good ground, so the difference in winning margins might suggest that, despite acting on both, this horse prefers an ease in the ground. She'll certainly get that with a hurricane forecast in Ireland in the coming days. I believe she can outwit SEPTEMBER now as the stablemates clash once more. 

SELECTION SNAPSHOT:

Saturday

Curragh 14:55 - Golden Spell - 3/1

Curragh 15:30 - Renneti - 12/1

Sunday

Curragh 14:10 - Camelback - 4/1

Curragh 15:55 - Happily - 2/1