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ALPHABETICAL ORDER; Back each-way alternatives to shut door on genius Aidan.


Irish Champions Weekend swings into day two this afternoon. And as usual it centres around one man - Aidan O'Brien.

The trainer has a stranglehold over the water and it isn't much of a surprise he has a grip on the markets for today's big events.

O'Brien has the favourite for all three of the Group One races at The Curragh and he's also responsible for the market leader in the Flying Five.

The master of Ballydoyle could go through the card but it's worth remembering it hasn't always gone to plan for him. Hotpots such as Idaho, Minding and Found were thumped at this meeting a year ago so while he will have his winners, there is a theory O'Brien won't get it all his own way.

As a punter you have a choice - wade in behind the great man or try to find ways of getting him beat while not ending up skint.

The approach I'm taking is to try to find a couple of each-way alternatives and have enough confidence that even if his superstars are too good,the selections are g o o d enough to get into the places and avoid damage to the pocket.

Top of that plan has to be ALPHA CENTAURI (3.40) in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

It's fair to say O'Brien has the race covered given he's represented by Clemmie, Magical, Happily and September while the champion trainer also runs Flame Of Tara Stakes runner-up Ballet Shoes.

However, Alpha Centauri has shown enough promise to suggest she can rumble up the Ballydoyle army. Although beaten in the Albany at Royal Ascot, it was a terrific performance when second after also running superbly in two previous routs in Ireland.

Jessica Harrington's charge won't mind the cut in the ground having raced on a road-like surface at Ascot and odds of 5/1 make her a decent play.

I'm taking the same approach to the Flying Five. Everyone who reads this column knows how much I love O'Brien's Caravaggio and it seems like treason to go against him. But it might be time to give one last chance to COTAI GLORY (3.05).

Charlie Hills' sprinter has not delivered wins when some big chances have come this year.

Still, the efforts have been fine and it's hard to imagine he'll be out of the places at 9/2. Order Of St George (4.50) should face few problems in the Irish St Leger. He put up the best staying performance in Ireland in the past 20 years when winning by 11 lengths in the hands of Joseph O'Brien two years ago.

Order Of St George was a shock loser of the contest 12 months ago but Ryan Moore should sort it. The same goes for Gustav Klimt (4.15) in the National Stakes.

Taking the same approach and using Harrington as the guide, Torcedor and Brother Bear are the respective each-way alternatives to try to make a small profit.

Brother Bear is trying seven furlongs for the first time but it is worth remembering he beat subsequent Group One winner Sioux Nation on two occasions earlier in the year. In fairness, the short-priced double will still appeal to many because these are likely to be two bankers for O'Brien.

Over in France, it is an important day of trails for the Arc meeting at Chantilly. John Gosden is sending Cracksman over for the Prix Niel and there shouldn't be any problems. That's not a short-price one to take on but there may be a couple of others to get against.

Richard Fahey's Ribchester has enjoyed an excellent campaign and the chances are the Prix de Moulin could be another one for the CV.

But keep an eye on the weather because if it buckets down - as it can do in that part of France - there might be a viable option in Marois runner-up INNS OF COURT (3.55).

CLOTH OF STARS (4.35) may also cause an upset in the Prix Foy when all eyes are fixed on the Euro debut of Satono Diamond.

The raider is this year's No.1 Arc hope from Japan although Andre Fabre boasts a dangerous rival at a better price. Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee believes Satono Diamond is the ideal candidate to succeed where his former charge Orfevre so narrowly failed in the Arc.

Cloth Of Stars was in cracking form at the start of the year and is returning after a break.

Fabre may also have left a little bit of work on given this is a trial but at odds of around 7/2 it might be worth taking a chance the Japanese has kept a bit in reserve for next month's big one.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 2017
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