Horse Racing Betting: Donn McClean’s Horses To Follow

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Horse Racing Betting: Donn McClean’s Horses To Follow

Before we dive in, some basic rules for a horses to follow list is to keep them in a tracker and on your radar for the next three runs.

Consider ideal conditions across variables like venue, ground, opposition and ensure prices on betting sites are satisfactory to you as a punter. 

This column should help you build up a list that proves profitable under those circumstances.

It should also provide timely reminders to reduce repeated form study and assist with your enjoyment of a season, be it National Hunt or Flat racing.

Eternal Silence - Leopardstown, 15th June

Eternal Silence was beaten at a short price in the seven-furlong fillies' maiden that opened proceedings at Leopardstown on Thursday evening, but she kept to her task well, and she shaped like a filly who would appreciate a greater test of stamina. 

She broke smartly and settled nicely initially just behind the leaders, but Billy Lee was able to steady things down once he got to the front on Bella Blue Eyes, and Eternal Silence was a little keen in behind in third place. 

She got a little out-paced when the leader quickened at the top of the home straight, but she stuck to her task well on the outside. 

She looked booked for third place as they raced inside the final furlong, but she went forward again on the run to the line, getting up just to snatch second place from Gypsy Woman, while getting to within a half a length of the winner.


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Jessica Harrington's filly was winless in three attempts last season, but two of those runs were in Group races, the last of the three in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, and connections thought enough of her to allow her take her chance in the Irish 1000 Guineas on her debut this season. 

This did look like a good opportunity for her, but she was beaten by a progressive filly, who did well from a wide draw on her previous run, and who had the run of the race in front. 

As well as that, Eternal Silence is by War Front, but she is out of Princess Highway, a Ribblesdale Stakes winner, and a half-sister to Royal Diamond, a Long Distance Cup winner. 

Her breeding and her racing style suggest that she will do better now stepped up in trip, possibly to 10 furlongs or beyond.

Also, it may be largely irrelevant, but the handicapper dropped her by 5lb to a mark of 96, so she could be interesting in a handicap off that mark now, stepped up in trip, if connections decided to go down that route.

Ocean Jewel - Leopardstown, 15th June

Ocean Jewel looked good in winning the Group 3 Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown on Thursday evening.

She settled nicely into her racing rhythm, just up on the outside of leader Agartha. 

The filly travelled well out of the back and into the home straight and, when Billy Lee asked her for her effort on the run to the furlong marker, she showed a smart turn of foot to put distance between herself and her rivals. 

She idled a little once she got to the front, but she kept on well, she was always holding her rivals at bay, and she left the impression that she was winning with more in hand than the one-and-a-quarter-length winning margin.

Winner of her maiden at Down Royal last September as a juvenile, she put up a career-best performance on her debut this season when she finished third behind The Antarctic and Ocean Quest in the Group 3 Lacken Stakes at Naas over six furlongs, and this was probably a step forward from that. 

It was her first time to take on her elders, and it was her first race over seven furlongs. She stayed the trip well, and that opens up options for her. 

The Al Shira'aa Farms filly is an immaculately-bred filly, a half-sister to 1000 Guineas winner Mother Earth, and this was just her fifth race, so there is no knowing how high she could go now.


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Rosscarbery - Cork, 16th June

Rosscarbery was good in winning the Group 3 Munster Oaks at Cork on Friday on her seasonal debut. 

Sharply away but settled back in fifth place by Billy Lee before they completed the short run to the first turn, she travelled well down the back and into the home straight. 

The only filly still on the bridle after they had straightened up for home, she moved easily into the lead on the run to the two-furlong marker, and she quickened smartly to put two lengths between herself and her rivals. 

Azazat did close inside the final furlong, but Rosscarbery was possibly idling in front, possibly tiring a little after she had gone and won her race, and she picked up again, she was actually going away again on the run to the line, and the first two pulled nicely clear of their rivals.

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Rated 81 when she joined her current trainer at the start of last year, she progressed through the 2022 season, winning two Group 3 races, including this race last year, and going down by a neck in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet, and finishing off the season on a mark of 110. 

Bought by Lady Bamford at the Tattersalls mares' sale last December for a million guineas, it is significant that her new owner sent her back into training with Paddy Twomey. 

She would have been a valuable broodmare with the CV that she had, but her trainer obviously feels that she can improve on what she achieved last year, that there is a Group 1 race in her. 

The mare has lots of options now, and she would be of interest if she took her chance in the Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh on Irish Derby weekend, a race in which she was disqualified from third place last year behind her stable companion La Petite Coco after a scales malfunction resulted in her carrying the incorrect weight. 

Dutch Decoy - Sandown, 17th June

Dutch Decoy came from a fair way back and kept on well to take second place behind Maysong in the one-mile handicap at Sandown on Saturday. 

Dropped in early from his outside draw by Oliver Stammers, he was last of the 12 runner field as they left the back, but he travelled well into the home straight and he made ground toward the leaders on the run to the two-furlong marker. 

Moved towards the outside and asked for his effort, he picked up well, but Maysong got a nice run through on the inside, and Dutch Decoy just couldn't get to him. 

He did stay on well enough though, widest of all, to snatch second place, just a half a length behind the winner.


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Charlie Johnston's horse is six now, but his last two runs have been up there with the best of his life, and he will be of interest wherever he goes now. 

The handicapper raised him by just 2lb for this run, which takes him up to a mark of 90, but he ran well off that mark at Ripon last August, and there could be a good handicap in him now off that mark. 

Interestingly, he could drop in grade now into a 0-90 handicap. 

He holds an entry in one such handicap at Redcar on Friday, and he will be of interest if he takes up that entry. 

He is at his best over a mile on good or fast ground, ideally off a strong pace.

Alpine Stroll - Sandown, 17th June

Alpine Stroll did well to keep on as well as he did to take second place in the one-mile-six-furlong handicap that concluded proceedings at Sandown on Saturday. 

Usually a prominent racer or a front-runner, he wasn't helped by the fact that he was taken on for the lead early on by Sea Appeal, and Oisín Murphy ended up ceding the lead and settling his horse in second place behind the leader. 

The pace was strong from flagfall though, it was a race in which the hold-up horses came to the fore. 

Alpine Stroll travelled well into the home straight and hit the front at the two-furlong marker.

He just gave best to the lightly-raced Alnilam 150 yards out, but he kept on gallantly even after he was passed, finishing four lengths clear of the third horse in the end. 

Time may prove that Ed de Giles horse faced an unenviable task, trying to concede 4lb to an unexposed rival who had the run of the race, and he can be marked up at least a little on the bare form of the run. 

A 2lb hike is fine, it takes him up to a mark of 76, still 4lb lower than his peak, and he will be of interest again now off that mark, ideally in a race in which it looks like he might not face too much competition for the early lead. 

He is versatile in terms of trip, it appears that he is equally effective over all distances from a mile and a half to two miles, and his record at Nottingham reads 211342.

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