The Curragh across the Irish Sea hosts the big race of the weekend with another evening off time of 7.15. Unsurprisingly Aidan O’Brien had 10 horses confirmed for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby earlier in the week, that has been whittled down to six due to run. It’s a bit of an O’Brien fest with Joseph running Crossfirehurricane Galileo Chrome and the only filly in the field New York Girl whilst Donnacha is set to be represented by Sherpa meaning the family train ten of the fifteen runners! It does though look a wide-open affair this year with no real standout on form. Crossfirehurricane arrives unbeaten and apparently in the upgrade and won a Group Three over 1m2f here well enough recently; Shepra third. Cheekpieces are put on Arthurs Kingdom and I am not convinced about he’s mettle in a big finish. Santiago arguably wants it softer so the forecast rain won’t hurt, and there are no concerns with the trip; won the Queen's Vase well enough even though he drifted onto the rail but certainly weren’t stopping. He isn’t the flashiest but looks the best punt to me and I have the 3-1.
Here in the UK they race at Lingfield and Newcastle on the all-weather plus Redcar and Newmarket on Turf. First bet of the day for me will be at Newmarket. I tipped Boccaccio when he won in November at Kemtpon and he is fancied to make a winning three-year-old debut in the 7f Betway Handicap at 2.05 and make it three wins from three starts. 5-4 is skinny but no-one is going to offer you 2-1!
The Group Three 7f Betway Criterion Stakes at HQ is the race of the day at 2.40. Half the field are rated within three or four pound of each other and you can make a case for most. Last year's winner Limato often does his best at HQ but aint getting any younger. Mubtasim has been on his travels finishing third in the G.2 Al Fahidi Fort out in Meydan before just missing out in the 6 ½f Sprint Cup Turf at Riyadh in February caught close home. Another bold bid is expected and I am on for him to hold on here and have the 4-1.
Pure Beauty looked like a potentially good one winning her Maiden Fillies' Stakes on delayed debut here earlier this month. She’ll have to give them all weight in the mile Betway Fillies' Novice Stakes at 4.25, in fact 17lb being a four-year-old, but she looked good the other day and was giving that field 10lb! Grab the best price you can when they chalk-up.Be lucky