Island Brave was a game winner last Saturday at Haydock. Today, we leave the Portland handicap alone and target the first race at the Curagh on Irish Champions Weekend.

Gulliver will relish the soft going today and has been running a lot better than his latest official results. At Goodwood he was draw poorly in stall 1 but stayed on well to the line beaten 7l on fast ground. The ground was fast again at York at the Ebor meeting when once again he didn’t enjoy the best of draws but travelled well to come through from the back of the pack to get within 4l of his stablemate Summerghand. A stiff 6 furlongs with cut in the ground will suit the old boy ideally today with Jason Watson booked. Gulliver started this season running off a mark of 100, finishing a close third to Asjad at York over six on good ground. The handicapper has relented dropping Gulliver down to a mark of 95 which is a winning mark in my opinion for ace trainer David O’Meara.

Eddie Lynam always likes to run a couple of his better sprint handicappers in this valuable sprint. He trained Soffia to win this race in 2018 and looks to have lined up Rough Diamond for today’s race with soft ground a positive. Rough Diamond didn’t run on the fast summer ground and returned with a lovely prep run over 6f at Dundalk. He was settled out the back, swung wide round the bend into the straight before picking up nicely to almost run down the leaders, finishing 1.5l in third. This 5yo had looked progressive last spring winning a 6f handicap comfortably on yielding to soft ground at Naas off a mark of 78. He carries a lovely low weight of 8-7 with Chris Hayes booked for the ride. A low draw in stall 3 might be a good one with the speedy Mr Wagyu drawn not far away in stall 8.

Curragh – 1:15

0.5 point each way Gulliver 9/1 Bet365 6 places else 17/2 Paddy Power & William Hill, 6 places.

0.5 point each way Rough Diamond 11/1 Bet365 6 places else 10/1 Paddy Power & 888sport, 6 places.

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