Bank on Blackberry

BLACKBERRY BOY is a confident nap choice to take the Sportsman's Challenge at the Curragh this afternoon.

Dermot Weld's Desert Prince colt made a good start at Gowran Park back in May when beating long odds-on Yario by three parts of a length on soft ground and wasn't seen again until reappearing at Leopardstown in late July.

Contesting the Listed Tyros Stakes, he finished a creditable fourth behind Teofilo, staying on really nicely at the end of that seven furlongs.

It looks as if he has been laid out especially for this valuable race by his shrewd handler and the opposition are no great shakes.

No less than 27 are set to face the starter in the Shelbourne Hotel Goffs' Fillies Five Hundred, but the one they all have to beat is surely Barry Hills' Silk Blossom.

She battled strongly to land the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York last time and this has to be regarded as a drop in class.

The Irish National Stud Blandford Stakes looks destined for Michael Stoute's Red Bloom. Third to Alexander Goldrun in a Group One at the Curragh, she again performed solidly subsequently when third in a Group Two at Deauville.

Any programme in which five of the seven races are handicaps is best given a wide berth and that's the story with Listowel today.

Feature event is the Listowel Races Supporters' Club Lartigue Hurdle and a hopeful choice is Timber Scorpion.

Pat Hughes' charge is at the right side of the handicap and entitled to come on plenty for his recent spin behind Fivestar Alstars at Killarney.

Noel Meade's once-raced Hotel Hilamar could be one of the better bets in the Festival Bumper. He showed promise when fourth to Nesserian at Punchestown in April and fitness is never an issue with horses from this source.

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