There is plenty of action to enjoy this weekend here in the UK and across the Irish Sea where they have a number of Pattern races including of course the Irish Derby at the Curragh. As it turns out most of my attention is at HQ Newmarket but I do have one I am on across the Irish Sea at the Curragh.
Best bets for the horse racing at Newmarket
At HQ they continue on the July Course Saturday with a couple of Listed heats and a Group Three on the card. They get underway at 12.40 with the Listed 6f Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress Fillies' Stakes for two-year-olds and I have to be on the Charlie Appleby trained filly Star Of Mystery here. I tipped her on debut up at Doncaster on Derby day where she was second to Carlys Way who subsequently run in the G.3 Albany at the Royal Meeting. Having learnt from the experience she then came out and won at Haydock at long odds-on hard held. 5-4 is about on Friday afternoon and I helped myself to a bit of that.
They face 1m4f at 1.15 for the Listed Cavani Menswear Sartorial Sprint Fred Archer Stakes and this can go to a Moulton Paddocks inmate as well as Charlie Appleby is saddling New London. Second in the G.1 St Leger when last seen (actually finished third and was promoted) this looks a nice starting point for his four-year-old campaign. I think he might be the type to progress again this year and it’s no surprise he has a number of G.1 entries through the summer. He has wind surgery over the winter and the tongue-strap goes on for the first time here. 11-10 was about Friday afternoon and I have a bit of that. Al Asay won at Ascot in May and is the danger being race fit whilst Kemari can’t be ignored getting weight for the market principals.
The 7f Group Three Cavani Menswear Fashion Face-Off Frenzy Criterion Stakes at 1.50 is the main event at HQ and has attracted a fair field. Aldaary has a few pounds in hand on official ratings and won a Listed heat at Haydock on his only start last season in eye-catching style but has been off for over a year and this is his first try at this level. It is also noted his best form is on soft going. Last years winner Pogo drops back into calmer waters having run in G.1’s the last twice. He never got involved in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and looks under the weather thus far this year. Jumby won the G.3 John Of Gaunt Stakes last time and took the G.2 Hungerford Stakes last year but he isn’t the most consistent and has to give away 3lb here. Berkshire Shadow has run with credit at big odds in a couple of G.1’s already this year finishing third in the Lockinge Stakes and fifth in the aforementioned Queen Anne Stakes. I think the drop back to 7f will suit the grey and he looks the most solid option to me. At 9-2 on Friday afternoon I have taken a chance.
At 2.25 the 7f Blandford Bloodstock Maiden Fillies' Stakes is causing me a headache as I love to back a Charlie Appleby two-year-old making debut at HQ and the bugger has entered two in this! They are both bred to be very good with plenty to like about them both on paper. Dance Sequence looks the number one with Buick booked to ride but you can never be sure purely on that fact. He is by Dubawi which gives you hope but dam Tearless didn’t run till she was four (did win three races) which makes you wonder about this one at two. Her full-brother Nonchalance won a couple of races as did half-brother New Comedy with her half-sister Romantic Song the best of the siblings being a Listed winner, though none of them won at two. Out of Falls Of Lora (a winner at two), Race The Wind has five half-siblings, four of them winners, including Aussie G.1 winner Cascadian who won on racecourse debut and American G.1 winner Albahr also a winner at two. Her sire Too Darn Hot was of course Champion two-year-old in his day, unbeaten in four starts that season including the G.1 Dewhurst. Everything on paper suggests this is the one that should be the better two-year-old. I have plumped for the mount of James Doyle at 5-2 overnight. Upscale is a nicely bred Juddmonte filly who could also prove above average.
Best bet for the horse racing at the Curragh
Matrika is long odds-on in the G.2 Airlie Stud Stakes for two-year-old fillies and unbackable. The main event on Saturday is the Group One 1m2f Yulong Pretty Polly Stakes at 5.25 for the older fillies. There are some nice types lining-up here not least the favourite Above The Curve who was last seen winning the G.2 Prix Corrida Stakes at Saint-Cloud in May. I though fancy one I tipped recently in Never Ending Story who I tipped each-way at 14-1 in the G.1 Prix de Diane Longines where she was second to the very good French filly Blue Rose Cen. As a three-year-old she gets 10lb from the jolly and I think Ryan Moore may have made a mistake here riding Above The Curve. Although the selections form this season is on softer ground, especially her two races in France, she won the faster going twice as a two-year-old and as I mentioned in June she was backward coming into her coat this season so there could well be more to come yet from her; I noted Aidan O'Brien saying of her in April "She hasn’t really come to herself yet, but when she does she will gush. She's just not there yet, you can see it in her coat that she's not there." and she proved that with her run at Chantilly. I took 9-2 about her Friday afternoon.
The potentially top-class Al Riffa makes his delayed return to the track when he takes on four rivals in the 1m2f G.3 Paddy Power International Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday at 4.00. A setback ruled out the long-time Irish 2,000 Guineas favourite from the first Irish Classic of the season but he is reportedly fit and well now stepping up in trip for his three-year-old debut. Last seen winning the G.1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes over seven here in September there is every reason to expect the 1m2f trip to suit on breeding and it will be fascinating to see how he goes with the G.1 entries he has later in the summer in mind. Too short for me on seasonal debut I will definitely be watching.
On Sunday just the nine line-up for the Group One Irish Derby, I assume many having been frightened off by the jolly. Auguste Rodin lines-up hoping to complete the Epsom.Irish Derby double and on all known form should do so. He beat subsequent King Edward VII winner King Of Steel at Epsom and there is little reason to believe any of those opposing here can turn the form around; White Birch (third), Sprewell (fourth), Adelaide River (eighth) and San Antonio (eleventh).Be lucky