Cork hosts an intriguing Flat card this Saturday and, in the Listed 7f Platinum Stakes (14:35), Black Magic Woman looks worth a wager at 11/2 with BetVictor to get the better of veteran top-weight Flight Risk.
Trained by Jack Davison, this three-year-old Camacho filly has put in some eye-catching performances in handicap company this season.
Black Magic Woman stuck to the task well when headed inside the two marker at Naas on reappearance and was beaten only 3 3/4 lengths.
The winner of that Premier Handicap, Never No More, went on to score at Listed level lowering the colours of Madhmoon. He is now rated 107.
Although Black Magic Woman found the Irish 1000 Guineas Trial too hot at Leopardstown and a mile stretching her stamina, she bounced back two starts later when landing a Gowran Park fillies’ handicap by a length.
Black Magic Woman then followed-up at Fairyhouse by lowering the colours of the once 109 rated Nebo.
She got put up by the handicapper to 96 for those back-to-back victories, but failed to fire in her next two starts.
As Black Magic Woman shaped far better when a length third in this grade at the Galway Festival last time out and had excuses, she looks well worth another chance at this level.
She was denied a clear run turning into the home straight and ran on in-between horses. While Black Magic Woman kept on well, she couldn’t reach the winner and previous Fairyhouse conqueror Surrounding.
It’s a performance that can be upgraded in the circumstances. On adjusted ratings, Black Magic Woman also comes out 1lb clear of the field in the Platinum Stakes and gets a whopping 15lb from Flight Risk.
Marshall Jennings feared most in Platinum Stakes
That eight-year-old is vulnerable to an improving sort like her, so the main danger may be course winner Marshall Jennings.
Like Black Magic Woman, this Jessica Harrington trained seven-year-old gelding has placed in the grade before.
After needing his first couple of runs, Marshall Jennings scored over the extended mile here when quickening well to lead 150 yards from home and holding on well.
He was giving a stone-and-a-half to the runner-up, so it was a gutsy display.
Marshall Jennings has also since run a fine race off top-weight in a Premier Handicap at The Curragh when beaten just 1 1/4 lengths into third by Basic Law.
Again, he was giving lumps away – 19lb to the winner this time and 9lb to the second.
The son of Lawman was far from disgraced last time out when a close-up 2 1/4 lengths fifth to Saltonstall in the valuable Mile Handicap at the Galway Festival.
Marshall Jennings was conceding between 8 and 13lbs to the first four home. He now meets the third, Quizical, on 13lb better terms, so should reverse form.
These solid efforts under welter burdens read well for a return to Listed company and it would be no surprise to see Marshall Jennings involved in the Platinum Stakes finish at 9/2 with Betfred.
As the aforementioned Flight Risk has won twice this season, he can’t be totally discounted either despite shouldering top-weight of 10 stone.
He is not getting any younger however, and – although top rated in the field – is opposed at a short-price 7/4 on offer.
Punters can Give Thanks to Delphinia
Later on the card is the Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes for fillies over 1m 4f (16:55). Just six line-up here, and the pick of those on race terms is Delphinia.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has won two of the last three renewals. In Delphinia, he has a beautifully bred daughter of Galileo won a Galway mile maiden on her third and final start as a juvenile.
After finishing a not knocked about sixth in a Group 3 at Naas on reappearance, she came on for the run when a length third to the re-opposing Tarnawa over a couple of furlongs further in a similar grade affair at the same venue.
As Delphinia now meets the winner on 3lb better terms and was short of room inside the final furlong, she has every chance of reversing that form.
She also stepped up on that effort superbly when an unlucky fifth in the Epsom Oaks. This year’s Classic was a very rough race indeed.
Delphinia took a bump a furlong from home but then rallied well and went down by just four lengths. That performance at the highest level sets the standard in this lower grade race.
She is now officially 2lb better than Tarnawa. Factoring in that old rival’s penalty as well, Delphinia comes out 5lb and upwards clear of the Give Thanks Stakes field.
With the pull in weight from Naas and granted better luck in-running, Delphina can resume winning ways here at 2/1 with Coral in a race where Ballydoyle have four of the six fillies.
Mater Matuta fancied for winning handicap debut
Even if old warhorse Flight Risk looks vulnerable in the Platinum Stakes, trainer Jim Bolger has a hopeful in handicap debutante Mater Matuta in the 7f event restricted to fillies (15:10).
This Godolphin owned daughter of Dawn Approach has some eye-catching juvenile form and progressed with each run this season. Mater Matuta got chinned on the line by So Perfect on debut in a Navan maiden.
The winner has since landed two Group 3s – the second when rated 110 – and finished a fine five-length fifth in the July Cup. Not only that, but Mater Matuta was then less than six lengths behind Fairyland at Naas.
That one has since scored a juvenile Group 1 and finished two places in front of So Perfect at Newmarket off 112.
Although then way down the field behind subsequent July Cup hero Ten Sovereigns at The Curragh, Mater Matuta wasn’t given a hard time once her chance had gone.
After finishing a 4 1/4 lengths fourth on reappearance at Gowran Park, she went one place better next time up at Leopardstown.
Mater Matuta then got closer at Naas when just touched off into third and a 1 3/4 lengths behind Simply Beautiful.
As the winner has since placed in two Listed races off 91 and 95, an opening handicap mark of 73 looks very lenient – especially when you treat Mater Matuta on the pick of her juvenile form.
She finally broke her maiden tag at Ballinrobe last time out when fending off Scorched Earth and scoring by half-a-length.
The assessor has left Mater Matuta unchanged for her handicap debut here and she looks a bit of each-way value at 7/1 with Ladbrokes now trying this sphere.