Saturday Racing Preview
This Saturday all eyes will be on the Curragh for the Irish 2000 Guineas where a classy field of 12 go to post. Aiden O’Brien is well represented but his big guns need to bounce back after disappointing at Newmarket. Guineas winner, Poetic Flare, needs to bounce back after a poor run in France last weekend, whilst Jesse Harrington’s Lucky Vega will be looking to reverse the Guineas form. Elsewhere on the card there is Group 2 action for Fillies and Mares over a mile and a Group 3 for two-year-olds. There is also high-class action from Goodwood, Haydock, Newmarket and York. Last weekend the preview highlighted two winners in the form of John Leeper 6/4 and Al Aasy 11/10 whilst Jadwal 18/1 ran a cracker to finish second.
O’Brien and Moore can start the Curragh card with a quick fire double
The first race of the day from the Curragh is the Tally Ho Stud Irish EBF Maiden over six furlongs. Twelve runners are set to go to post and Pinar Del Rio sets the standard out of those with experience after a good third on debut. The winner has been well beaten since so I would be inclined to side with one of the newcomers. Aiden O’Brien often runs a few in these types of contests but he sends just the one runner, The Acropolis. By Churchill and out of Hairy Rocket he is bred to be more than useful and Hairy Rocket herself was a five-length winner on debut. This colt had held an entry in the Group 3 next on the card, so I am hoping his homework has been good and he is ready to rumble first time up. Both Moore and O’Brien are in fine earlier season form so any market support should not be ignored. Churchill is yet to have a winner as a sire, so fingers crossed, he has his first here!
Group 3 action comes next on the Curragh card where Aiden O’Brien and Ryan Moore team up with another horse I believe could be hard to beat. Cadamosto was a very impressive winner of a Dundalk maiden where he beat Silver Surfer by three and a half lengths. A couple of these have form tied in with Silver Surfer and it wouldn’t take a genius to realise Cadamosto comes out easily the best after a quick scan through the form lines. That being said, rapid improvement is always possible in two-year-olds and a few of these are going in the right direction. Celtic Times has three starts under his belt and is closely matched on form with Masseto. Sangria was given an educational ride on debut and could outrun her current odds of 14/1. I’m going to stick with Cadamosto though, who looked a very promising and professional two-year-old at Dundalk.
Glen and Hollie can take out Group 2 honours
The Group 2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes over 6 furlongs is next on the card where Hollie Doyle reunites with Glen Shiel for the first time since their Group 1 Qipco British Champions Stakes win at Ascot. Glen Shiel 9/4 had an outstanding season last year climbing the sprinting ranks and despite having to concede weight all round, could take some beating here. The soft conditions play right into his hands and he has run well fresh before. Hollie Doyle comes over for the ride and if fully fit first time up, he should prove hard to beat. Of his rivals, I thought Royal Commando was an interesting runner for Charles Hills and Kieran Shoemark. He put up a career best performance on his seasonal reappearance when beating Emaraaty Ana, Brando and the reopposing Summerghand. He had shown glimpses of class as both a two and three-year-old, but he may well have come of age as a four-year-old. If he can take another step forward, he could be bang there. My main concern would be the form of his trainer. At the time of writing Charles Hills has had just the 1 winner from his last 26 runners.
Trappy Irish 2000 Guineas can go to the Ballydoyle Maestro
Twelve runners go to post for what looks an extremely interesting Irish 2000 Guineas. Newmarket conqueror Poetic Flare won the English classic but didn’t fire in France last weekend. I must say I was quite surprised to see him declared. Having previously won on ground with ease in it, I am not entirely convinced the soft ground caught him out and subsequently would just have doubts about what exactly went wrong. Ground would be a worry for Newmarket third, Lucky Vega, who is yet to encounter soft ground in his career so far. Aiden O’Brien launches a three-pronged attack on this years renewal but all three colts disappointed in the English classic. Battleground was subject to a big late market move but never looked dangerous. It was a similar story for stablemate Wembley who according to his trainer, didn’t handle the track on much quicker ground. The softer surface will certainly be to his liking but also to Van Gogh 8/1 who fared best of the O’Brien runners at Newmarket finishing eighth. Held up out the back he looked threatening for a moment coming down to the two-furlong pole but couldn’t quicken to land a blow. His career best performance as a two-year-old did come on bottomless ground in France, so this softer surface could help him find those extra gears required. In fact, all his best performances to date have come with cut in the ground so it may well be he thrives on a softer surface. He showed enough at Newmarket to suggest he has trained on and at the prices I think he represents a nice each way bet.
Crack open the Champers Elysees
Just the seven runners go to post for the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes over a mile. Toon Soon To Panic impressed me on her last start when staying on strongly at Gowran. This step back to a mile may not play to her strengths though, especially when taking on Champers Elysees 11/10. Jonny Murtagh’s stable star was electric last season, notching up a four-timer which included Group 1 success in the Matron Stakes. She had to concede plenty of weight all round on her seasonal reappearance when finishing a slightly disappointing fourth but the vibes were she’d come on for the run. She has to concede 3lbs all round here but still comes out well clear on Official Ratings. With form in the book on a softer surface, ground conditions shouldn’t be a worry and subsequently she should be hard to beat. Iva Feeling is likely to be a wild price and has plenty to find on ratings, but I was quite taken by her Dundalk success and she could outrun her odds.
More Irish success on English soil in York Group 3
The feature race of the day from York is the Group 3 William Hill Bronte Cup Fillies Stakes where the current market is headed by Believe In Love. The Roger Varian stable is in flying form and ground conditions should really suit her. She has to concede 3lb all round here and on her first start of the season I have decided to take her on with Irish raider Mighty Blue 7/2. Joseph O’Brien’s mare doesn’t have any race fitness concerns having been productive over hurdles through the winter. With strong form on softer ground, she is one with no ground issues either and she appeared to relish the step up to this trip last time out. She received weight from both Princess Zoe and Barrington Court on her last start but comfortably beat them both. Both mares are horses I hold in very high regard. Having run very well at the Cheltenham Festival we know she travels well and subsequently I would be hopeful of a very big run.
Don’t give up on Sunday Sovereign
A very competitive five-furlong sprint is later on the card at York where last weeks course and distance winner, Copper Knight, heads the betting to notch up a quick-fire double. A 5lb rise looks well within his reach but I am going to side with a horse he beat last time out. Sunday Sovereign 33/1 was an extremely exciting two-year-old beating the likes of Arizona and beating him with ease! Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan as a three-year-old, but he caught my eye last time out on his first start for new trainer Tim Easterby. He ran well for a very long way before getting a little tired late on. He was only four and a half lengths behind Copper Knight that day and has since been dropped 5lb. As a result, he has a 10lb swing at the weights and is ten times the price. He looks a nice each way play in a competitive field.
Tom Collins can strike for the magic Marquand
Two Grade 2’s feature on a good-looking card at Haydock but before that we have a competitive class three handicap over seven furlongs. I like the chances of Tom Collins 7/1 for the inform Haggas team. His reappearance run wouldn’t fill you with confidence, but his record fresh isn’t great, and I’d expect him to come on bundles for the run. He will be much happier on this softer surface and the early market support has been there for him. First time cheekpieces go on and Marquand takes the ride. The signs point to a very big run!
Meade’s Method well worth chancing in first Group 2
Dragon Symbol currently heads the betting for the Group 2 Casumo Bet10Get10 Sandy Lane Stakes. He looks a very exciting sprinting prospect having won his four lifetime starts to date. Jadwal has come out and franked the form of his second last win when running a big race last weekend. He will need to translate his all-weather form to turf and with soft ground another unknown, I believe he is worth taking on. Martin Meade’s Method 8/1 looked a very good two-year-old and bounced back from a poor run in the Group 1 Middle Park to end his second with a good second to Winter Power. That form looks stronger than ever and this step back up to six furlongs should really suit. With soft ground no issue and a winner on his seasonal debut last year, there is lots to like about his current price of 8/1.
Hooper can provide an evening treat at Statford
Stratford plays host to a good-looking evening card of summer jumps where I have decided to stay loyal to Hooper 5/2 who was highlighted in the preview a few weeks back but was a late non-runner. Copperless went on to absolutely bolt up in that race which in turn majorly franked Hooper’s form. Ben Ffrench Davis takes a useful 7lb off, bringing him down to a mark of 121. With his closely matched form with the now 141 rated Copperless in mind, that mark could look a gift and Hooper has looked extremely progress of late, winning his last three. Reserve Tank is an extremely interesting runner for the Tizzard’s, being a dual Grade 1 winner in his novice hurdle days. He wouldn’t appear to be in love with the game at the moment though and represents a risky bet.
By Sam Rideout
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