Chris McGrath: Banimpire can lead the Dancing in Irish Oaks

Inside Track

A week ago, everyone was grumbling that the transfer of the July Cup from its traditional weekday slot had produced too rich a diet of Saturday racing. Sure enough, today they are complaining that the gruel is too thin.

There's no pleasing some people. But then that, in more ways than one, is a besetting vice of the Turf.

The real mystery, as has been rightly observed, is why the Sunday programme in this country remains such a wretchedly everyday affair. Otherwise the only real objections last Saturday, when the feature race would ordinarily have been a handicap at York, came from those who suddenly discovered that their regular jockeys could not be in two places at once. As a direct consequence, however, the sport was able to celebrate an edifying breakthrough in the maiden Group One success of Hayley Turner, who proved herself first among equals on Dream Ahead.

For all her pioneering excellence, preoccupation with the jockey resulted in a culpable neglect of David Simcock, whose handling of Dream Ahead would be a credit to a far more seasoned trainer. He held his nerve through a frustrating spring, and has now won three Group Ones in just six starts with a colt whose sire has meanwhile been banished to a stud near Pamplona.

If some had seemed in an unseemly haste to write off Dream Ahead, then how about the way Dancing Rain has been opposed in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh tomorrow? The filly she beat at Epsom, Wonder Of Wonders, has been made odds-on to reverse the form thanks to a consensus that Johnny Murtagh perpetrated some brazen larceny in an uncontested lead on Dancing Rain.

But those unfortunate enough to have shared the conviction that Wonder Of Wonders was an outstanding bet that day will know that Kieren Fallon was perfectly wise to Murtagh's opportunism. Always closest of her pursuers, he gave his mount the full length of the straight to run her down. The fact that she briefly looked certain to do so, only for Dancing Rain to assert again close home, has been ascribed to her apparent discomfort on the camber. Few have given the remotest credence to the possibility that Dancing Rain, herself a long-striding filly who should relish the open spaces of the Curragh, might have disclosed authentic Classic ability in only the fourth race of her career, and just six weeks after winning her maiden.

It would be pretty sickening, for those of us who backed Wonder Of Wonders after her brilliant trial at Chester, to see her bolt up tomorrow. But if she seemed a good bet at Epsom, it is hard to see why she should be a better one at much shorter odds now. Granted that Dancing Rain may well have been flattered, the shape of the market instead demands a closer look at one or two at bigger prices.

Blue Bunting is certainly better than she showed at Epsom, where she received one of the more inattentive rides of Frankie Dettori's career. Her performance tomorrow, relative to Dancing Rain, should certainly disclose the full measure of any advantage stolen by Murtagh that day.

The Godolphin second string, Rumh, could go well at a huge price. She was clearly not herself in the conditions in the Ribblesdale, just a week after a generous effort at Newbury. But the best value of all is the winner that day, Banimpire. Her all-out, photo-finish success (above left) leaves her something still to find, but Jim Bolger has long been a master at hewing a new seam of improvement from granite-tough fillies. This one has been beaten once in six starts in barely two months, when an excellent fifth over an inadequate trip in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and dragged the runner-up seven lengths clear at Royal Ascot. That was only her second start at this trip, and Bolger suspects she prefers better ground.

There will be no complaints about quality next Saturday, with connections of Workforce yesterday declaring an eagerness – in principle – to exorcise his mysterious failure in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes last year. He will take on St Nicholas Abbey and Rewilding at Ascot so long as conditions are not too firm.

There is an undeniably plain look to proceedings today, however, with the Weatherbys Super Sprint too full of unexposed youngsters to volunteer a strong bet. Richard Hannon's record in this race testifies to his perennial ability to produce good winners from no better than middle-market bloodlines. But it's doubtful that even he knows for sure which of his is improving fastest, and Sweet Chili looks a fair price at 16-1. She sank without trace in soft ground last time, but her previous form makes her look dangerously weighted.

She is, moreover, ridden by Turner's great rival, Cathy Gannon. Perhaps she, too, can prove herself not just a good female jockey, but a good jockey full stop – another challenge, that is, to the Turf's inveterate habit of not taking winners at face value.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Desert Romance (3.10 Newmarket)

Did well to hang on for third after seeing off fierce competition for the lead at Redcar last time, and this drop in trip could bring out further improvement.

Next Best

Wild Coco (2.35 Newmarket)

Form of her maiden success has worked out well, with three of those beaten out of sight winning next time out.

One To Watch

Noble Silk (Lucy Wadham) made a promising start at York last weekend, making ground very smoothly for a colt bred for middle distances.

Where The Money's Going

Silvestre de Sousa is 7-4 from 5-2 with William Hill for the jockeys' title, now sharing favouritism with Paul Hanagan, himself eased from 11-8.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam