Classy Affair For The O’Brien’s In The Meld Stakes
Sunday’s action at the Curragh provides a tasty follow-up to Saturday’s action courtesy of two Pattern races and a valuable handicap, including the Group 3 Meld Stakes over 1m2f (3.15).
Siding with the classy runners in this race down the years proved a wise move, as each of…
…the last 10 Meld winners were officially rated 106 or more, boding well for the likes of Aidan O’Brien’s Table Rock (110).
This 3yo arrives in good form having won four of his last five starts, including a valuable 1m handicap here at the Curragh (good to firm), before a successful step up to Listed grade at Newmarket (1m, good to soft). O’Brien now sends this colt back up to 1m2f for the first time since scoring over this C&D in May, and the manner in which he is progressing suggests Group 3 level should be fine.
Another of the ‘106+ rated’ runners is O’Brien’s Festive Cheer (114), who has not been seen since well beaten in Dubai Group 1 in March. This 4yo was previously a 3l third in the Irish Derby last term, and obviously has the class to take this, though the market prior to race time could be the most reliable guide following such a lay-off.
Prince Of All (110) won a 7f Listed race (All-Weather) before finishing last of 7 in a Group 1 at Royal Ascot. This colt was only beaten 6l at Ascot, however, keeping on in the process, and may find this level more appropriate.
Jim Bolger has won the Meld Stakes three times since 2005 and runs the oldest runner in the race via Parish Hall (112), who can be relied upon to give his running and was a Group 1 winning juvenile. His form this season has seen two placed Group 3 efforts over 1m2f, and the fact he won four times could be a positive as 7 of the last 10 Meld winners had already won four times or more (35%); others were 3-36 (8%).
Those that headed into this race with a last time out victory also performed well, and one with such a credential is Dermot Weld’s Afternoon Sunlight (102). This 3yo filly won both outings so far in 2014, including a Group 3 over 1m when last seen in May, though her breeding (related to two 1m2f winners), suggests she could come into her own over this trip.
John Oxx has yet to score in this race since 2004, but has two entered in Qewy and Ponfeigh. Of the pair, Ponfeigh looked good in winning two small races over 1m in June (good), before outclassed when beaten 8l by Australia in the Irish Derby. He deserves a chance at this lower level.
Of the last 10 Meld winners…
9 were 6/1 or shorter
7 had four wins or more (35%); remainder were 3-36 (8%)
5 won last time (42%)
With past records showing a bias for ‘in-form’ last time out winners, Aidan O’Brien’s Table Rock, could follow-up his Listed won from 10 days ago.