Race of The Day Thursday July 19
19:151 mile 1 furlong (1800m)

ICON Meld Stakes (Group 3)

Leopardstown

  • Current Favourite  Hazapour
  • Current Odds 10/11
Race Analysis Runners 5 Going Good to Firm Distance 1 mile 1 furlong (1800m)

Race Overview

Originally known as the Brownstown Stakes, the race was renamed in 1980’s in memory of the brilliant Meld, winner of the British fillies’ Triple Crown in 1955, and dam of subsequent Derby winner Charlottown. Staged over 1 mile 1 furlong, this Group 3 contest carries prize money this year of €63,000 and is open to three year olds and upwards.

The most notable winner in recent decades is Dermot Weld’s admirable Famous Name, who won the contest three times in a row between 2010 -2012.

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Horse racing Frankie Dettori

Favourite Hazapour

Hazapour was far from disgraced when fading to finish fifth in the Investec Derby at Epsom in June having previously won the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at this track in May. He will prove a popular choice under Frankie Dettori.

Horse racing - Donnacha O'Brien

Other Contenders

The classy Deauville, ridden by Donnacha O’Brien (pictured) is an obvious danger to the expected favourite, with underfoot conditions set to suit and dropping in grade after taking on the best over a mile last time. Turret Rocks, Brendan Brackan and Curly make up the field and are all capable performers.

Race Analysis

Nothing travelled better around Tattenham Corner and into the home straight in the Investec Derby than HAZAPOUR, who appeared to be cruising over two furlongs from home. But the moment he came under pressure the petrol gauge was clearly on empty and he failed to stay the mile-and-a-half, eventually finishing fifth behind Masar. That is still a very good effort, and having won here previously in the Derby Trial over a mile-and-a-quarter there are no questions about him staying, or over the track. The issue is whether he will be as effective at nine furlongs, and if he will handle the prevailing quick ground?

My feeling is that Dermot Weld’s Shamardal colt will manage on both scores – his half-sister won on Good to Firm ground – and I’m sure his master trainer will have considered all the factors before pitching him in here. He should prove hard to beat.

Deauville has been another fine advertisement for Aidan O’Brien’s skills running consistently well at the highest level in middle-distance and mile race over the last three seasons.He was beaten when odds-on in this race 12 months ago, failing by a head to beat Moonlight Magic, but won here on his only other visit in Group 3 company as a juvenile. Ideally suited by the prevailing fast ground, the son of Galileo hasn’t really hit form yet this term although he was a decent runner-up to the useful Forest Ranger in the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes in April. After failing to make an impact at Group 1 level over a mile in his last two outings this race looks ideal, and he will be a tough opponent for Hazapour, especially if he gets rolling in front and pinches a few lengths. He is the main danger.

O’Brien also saddles the twice-raced three-year-old filly Curly, winner of a Gowran Park maiden last time. She is a nice prospect but will have to have improved significantly if she is to overturn the anticipated market leaders, while Turret Rocks, very useful at two and three years old, hasn’t really run to that level over the last couple of seasons although she won a listed event at Gowran Park at around this trip on her penultimate start.

Brendan Brackan has been a grand servant to connections but is at his best when the mud is flying and may find them going a stride or two too quick for him on this occasion.

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Betting.net Selection

Hazapour
10/11
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Betting.net Danger

Deauville
2/1

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Paul Alster Betting.net

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.