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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions