Improving Santa Monica primed to finally land the spoils

Santa Monica gets the nap to earn an overdue maiden success this evening at Tipperary. There is a concern she isn’t proven on the likely testing ground, but her dam secured her sole victory on good-to-soft going, and this lady has shown plenty of class in three outings to date.

On debut she caught the eye finishing eighth behind Alice Springs, and took a small step forward when fourth behind Miss Gossip next time. She finished in front of the latter when running a huge race to finish fourth, beaten five lengths, behind leading prospect Tanaza in a Group 3 at Leopardstown on her most recent outing.

There’s every reason to expect the Charles O’Brien-trained filly can step forward once more and she should make the breakthrough.

The danger may come from Special Focus, who is proven on testing ground and, on a mark of 90, rated just 5lbs inferior to the selection.

The Listed Coolmore Canford Cliffs Stakes, over seven and a half furlongs, can go the way of Aidan O’Brien’s Port Douglas. The colt was an impressive winner on debut, but put in his place by Sanus Per Aquam on his next outing, at Leopardstown.

Being by Galileo, out of a Kingmambo mare, we can be relatively confident he will cope with today’s conditions, in which case he should prove a tough nut to crack.

He’s taken to score at the expense of debut winner Glamorous Approach.

The finale is the Toomey’s Applegreen Filling Station Handicap for lady riders, and Katie Walsh and Thousand Stars are narrowly preferred to Henry’s Girl and Sarah O’Brien.

The selection is likely to be put in at prohibitive odds, given he’s rated more than six stone higher over hurdles than on the Flat. On that basis alone, this should prove a walk in the park, and he showed himself to retain plenty of ability when a fine sixth behind Quick Jack in the Galway Hurdle last week.

At this stage of his career, however, the 11-year-old is not going to be ideally suited to a mile-and-a-half race on the level. Given it isn’t the most demanding of contests his class should shine through.

Lightly raced, Henry’s Girl the one to give him most to think about. She ran the now 93-rated Awesome Star to two and a half lengths, receiving 5lbs, on her flat debut back in June, and showed she copes with testing ground when beating Kennady last time, at Wexford. She has scope for improvement in this sphere, and holds strong each-way claims against the likely hot favourite.


Liz O’Brien talks to Niall Breslin about his admiration for frontline staff, bereavement in lockdown, his new podcast, and why it's so important for us all just to slow down.Niall Breslin talks about losing his uncle to coronavirus

Podcasts are often seen as a male domain — see the joke, 'What do you call two white men talking? A podcast'.Podcast corner: Three new podcasts from Irish women that you should listen to

Esther McCarthy previews some of the Fleadh’s Irish and international offerings.How to attend the Galway Film Fleadh from the comfort of your own couch

Whether you’re on staycation or risking a trip away, Marjorie Brennan offers suggestions on novels for a wide variety of tastesThe best fiction books for the beach and beyond this summer

More From The Irish Examiner