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Tony Keenan preview and best bets for Leopardstown



Tony Keenan preview and best bets for Leopardstown

Tony Keenan is back with a look ahead to the action at Leopardstown this evening – he’s got one recommended bet.

Some of the Irish premier handicaps so far this summer have not lived up to billing, but the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Nasrullah Handicap, the 7:25 at Leopardstown this evening, is not one of those with 16 runners declared for what looks a competitive race.

A strong pace, even an overly strong pace, seems likely with Global Energy, Exquisite Acclaim, Blues Emperor and Narmar among those in the field, which could suit a hold-up horse, something like Benavente making some appeal.

He is eight pounds lower on the turf than the synthetics and his form from the all-weather season worked out well, mixing in with progressive types like Dance Night Andday and Fairytale Princess at Dundalk last November, before shaping better than the result in valuable English races, not least when third at Lingfield on Good Friday.

The rub against him is that he is not as effective on grass, though his recent improvement may have come for the stable switch to Kevin Coleman as much as anything, and he has been better than the bare form of his two recent Curragh runs, the trip too sharp over seven furlongs on Guineas weekend and never getting into it from a long way off the pace last time while not getting a hard time either.

The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Brownstown Stakes (6:15) has been relocated from Fairyhouse to Leopardstown this season, something that should suit Special Wan who has good course form. She won her maiden impressively at the track this time last year and got closer to Mutasarref here last time despite being worse off at the weights than their previous meeting so looks to be improving.

Her having done it against colts and geldings gives her an edge on most of the field and she looks a reasonably solid favourite though her head carriage is not always convincing.

My idea of the best bet on the card is ENJOY THE DREAM in the last, the Leopardstown Members Race for qualified riders at 8:30. I can’t claim to have an in-depth knowledge of what her German form means but the Hamburg Group 3 she finished fourth in in July 2022 generally worked out well and she quickly made up into a good juvenile hurdler in early 2023 when joining Andrew McNamara.

She missed nearly a year after Punchestown that season and was due to make her flat debut for her new yard in the Noblesse Stakes back in April, a positive sign for the regard she is held in, before being a late non-runner and instead going to Killarney the following month.

There she finished a good second to the subsequent Queen Alexandra winner Uxmal, and while she was well-in at the weights, it is a similar situation this evening, and she should improve for that outing given the absence beforehand, her jockey only riding her out hands and heels on that occasion.

The accuracy of her 96 official rating is hard to assess but she has plenty of other positives here, among them the recent rain and her jockey being the most experienced in the race where many are only starting their careers.

She gets weight from most of her rivals and while Jesse Evans sets a high bar at his best, he tends to need a run each year and has valuable targets coming up in the second half of the season.

Preview posted at 0840 BST on 12/07/24

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