JP O Brien Racing
All is going well with Focus Of Attention and she remains on track for Fairyhouse on Wednesday. Looking at the weather forecast, the rain might not arrive until a day or two after her race, but as you all know, the weather can always change in this great country!
Here she is having a pick of grass after her work this morning and as you can see, she is looking really well.
Focus Of Attention has been declared to run in the Fairyhouse 19:20 tomorrow. We are all delighted here, as it was important that she got a low draw and she will come out of stall one.
Joseph and Kevin will give you all a full rundown of the race and her prospects in it in their pre-race report which we will send out tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, we would really appreciate it if you could let us know as soon as possible if you would like to join us at the races to support her by sending us an email at the usual address.
Joseph O’Brien’s Thoughts
Focus Of Attention is a lovely uncomplicated filly and we’ve always been happy with her since she came here earlier this year. She had a little issue that led to her missing an intended engagement 10 days ago, but she was quickly over that and has been great since.
We were very happy with her first run at Navan and the hope will be that she can come forward from that. Fairyhouse should suit her well and the trip should be fine, though she has to prove beyond doubt that she gets it today. She should handle an ease in the ground whenever she gets it, but I think she’ll be fine on the ground today. We are very happy with her draw and we expect her to be hard to beat.
Kevin Blake’s Analysis
It is probably fair to call this a below-average 0-65 handicap. The fact that 13 of the 17 runners have never won a race of any description tells the story.
This represents a drop in class for Focus Of Attention and it isn’t a surprise to see her put in as the favourite given she ran so well on her first start for Joseph in a stronger race than this at Navan last month. That race was over 5f and she showed up well for a long way towards the middle of the track when all the action was up against the near-side rail. She just got a bit tired close home and was entitled to do that on what was her first start since October.
My view of her is that she will be better suited by 6f than 5f and I suspect this flatter track will suit her better than the undulations of Navan. My only real concern about her here is the ground. While it was officially good-to-firm at Navan for her last start, analysis of the times suggests it was riding more like good ground. I just hope that the ground at Fairyhouse is riding more like good than good-to-firm, as I think she is one that will appreciate the rain when it finally arrives. That said, Joseph isn’t as concerned about the ground with her as I am.
In tactical terms, the draw is a significant factor over this course and distance. The bend comes up after two furlongs and those that get caught out wide will cover much more ground than those that can get close to the rail. For that reason, a low draw is a help and anything wider than stall 10 is a big hindrance. With that in mind, Focus Of Attention being drawn in stall one was a big relief.
In terms of how the race might pan out around her, it looks to me as if the overall pace should be at least average. Qatar Delight (3) is a free goer that helped force the pace over 5f in a hood last time, so with her being likely to be fired up by first-time blinkers back over this longer trip, she looks the likeliest leader from her good draw. Olly’s Folly (6), Just Waterville (7), Scobias (9) and Secret Memories (10) are all candidates to look to get at least prominent from wider draws.
Focus Of Attention (1) has got away on even terms in all her starts bar her very first run and has shown good early speed in her races, so all being well she should be able to secure a prominent position. While the box seat in behind the leader should be available to her, she has shown in the past that she can be effective without cover, so Donnacha could potentially look to sit outside the leader if the pace isn’t overly strong. As always, it will be left to him to assess the race as he sees it panning out in front of him and do what he thinks is best in the moment.
Of her opposition, Beau Rocko (5) has been shaping with promise and while it isn’t yet fully clear what his ideal trip is, he is well drawn and looks capable of winning when the penny drops. I would have been afraid of Lily’s Prince (16) as he has a fantastic record over this course and distance (three wins from five starts), but he has been dealt a cruel hand by the draw and will do very well to overcome it.
All told, while races don’t always pan out how we hope they might based on previous racecourse evidence, Focus Of Attention should hopefully get a smooth spin through this race. She appeals as being well handicapped and while she may prove to be a better filly on a softer surface, she showed enough on good ground last time to suggest that she can make a really bold bid here. Fingers crossed!
What a start! The pressure was on, but Focus Of Attention and Donnacha delivered earlier this evening at Fairyhouse. There were a few scares along the way, but she ultimately ended up winning very well. She looks like one that we’ll have plenty more fun with.
We will send you a full debrief in the morning with an update on how she has come out of the race, but for now you can view the below video of what Donnacha had to say after the race.
It was great to see a super bunch of members turn out to support her and hopefully it’s the first winner of many.
That was a great thrill last night! While it didn’t go to plan, you’d have to be delighted with the way Focus Of Attention overcame the trouble she met. She looks like a filly we’ll all have plenty of fun with.
She seems to have come out of the race in great form. She’s been out in the paddock all morning and as you can see in the video below, she looks in great order. She has plenty of options in the next month or so and we’ll let you know what the plan is as soon as we know ourselves.
It was great to get such a good start for the Club and to see you all enjoying the win so much. Hopefully it is the first of many great days for the Club.
Well, wasn’t that exciting?! Focus Of Attention gave us a bit of a fright, but all’s well that ends well. Things obviously got fairly tight for her down the straight, but she showed a lot of pace and willingness to take the gaps when they appeared. I was impressed with her turn of foot and she clearly thought she had enough done when she got to the front, with her pricking her ears and edging left. As you would have heard in the video of Donnacha’s post-race report that we sent out last night, he was really happy with her.
We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it was a weak race, but it was hard not to be impressed with the style in which she did it. She looks as though she’ll be well capable of competing at a higher level and now that she is proven on good-to-firm ground and over six furlongs, it gives us even more options. Given the pace she showed there, I suspect she’d be fully effective back over five furlongs if needed.
In terms of where she goes next, the handicapper is likely to raise her rating by in the region of 7-9lb, so here are her options in the coming two months or so:
25/07/18 – Naas 5f 3yo+ 0-90
06/08/18 – Curragh 6f 3yo+ 0-90
10/08/18 – Tipperary 5f 3yo+ 0-95
12/08/18 – Curragh 5f 3yo+ 0-80 (apprentice) (not lost 5lb claim)
16/08/18 – Leopardstown 6f 3yo+ 0-90
25/08/18 – Curragh 5f 3yo+ 0-75
26/08/18 – Curragh 6.3f 3yo+ 0-75
31/08/18 – Curragh 5f 3yo+ 0-85
01/09/18 – Curragh 6f 3yo+ 0-95
08/09/18 – Navan 5f 3yo+ 0-100
16/09/18 – Curragh 6f 3yo+ Bold Lad Premier Handicap (bottom weights in the last four renewals were rated 80, 78, 80 and 82)
As you can see, she has plenty of options. While it isn’t always best advised to look too far into the future, the eye is drawn to the Bold Lad Premier Handicap at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend as a potential long-term target. She will need to win at least one more to give herself a chance of sneaking in at the bottom of that race, but it is something for us to dream about anyway! Joseph and I will have a good chat about the options for her next start and as soon as we give one preference, you’ll be the first ones to know.
We’re off and running!
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