HomeHorse RacingTony Keenan preview and best bets for Cork

Tony Keenan preview and best bets for Cork


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There’s a quality meeting at Cork this evening and our Irish form expert Tony Keenan has a fancy in the five-furlong maiden.

Cork host one of their main flat cards of the year this evening, the Munster Oaks the centrepiece, and there is also a very competitive Listed sprint along with a premier handicap to get stuck into.

The Darley-sponsored feature is 7:08 is close-knit judged on official marks, six of the eight runners rated between 99 and 101, though Sumiha looked to have the measure of a few of the others when an unlucky second over course-and-distance in April.

Her subsequent runner-up finish at the Curragh may read a touch disappointing but the winner got a fine ride from the front, and she may have found the ground too fast.

All of this is reflected in her price which looks about right while Greenfinch might be one to keep in mind for the longer term. She has looked in need of further in all four of her runs over seven furlongs but is returning from a 68-day break and may improve for this run.

The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Midsummer Sprint Stake (6:33) is a hot contest for the grade and a very strong pace seems likely. That should suit Clarendon House given he enjoys such a setup in handicaps but his planting himself at the start in the Epsom Dash raises concerns.

Should he not perform to his best, the likes of Go Athletico and Easy are viable alternatives, though might ideally prefer proper soft ground.

Things do not get any easier in the Cork Derby at 7:43, a race that is quite weak for the premier handicap grade with just six runners rated higher than 80. Jaafel caught the eye last week at Leopardstown, but it is anyone’s guess if he will be in the same form tonight.

Perhaps the Mallow Maiden at 5:25 is the best race for a bet on the card. Edward Lynam has two fancied runners, but DESERT POWER looks the pick after an excellent debut at Navan last month.

Sent off at 22/1 and ridden by a claimer, little seemed expected then but he ran a fine second to an experienced 89-rated rival in Sturlasson; that one’s mark looked a little suspect on the balance of his juvenile form but he backed it up entirely when a close second in the Dash soon afterwards.

Desert Power was drawn in the right part of the track but was dropped out and finished strongly, faster than anything else in the field in both of the last two furlongs per Course Track sectionals despite not being given a hard time.

Indeed, his closing two-furlong split was the fastest on the card by the guts of half a second, a notable achievement for a first-time starter, especially when there were also competitive handicaps over the same trip on the day.

His stable’s runners so far this turf season have been improving plenty for a run and with a senior jockey taking over he looks the one to beat.

Preview posted at 0908 BST on 14/06/24

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