It’s another weekend of top-class action here and of course across the Irish Sea with their Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival at the Curragh. Out in America they have the Grade One Preakness Stakes at Pimlico but Epicenter looks like being odds-on and I am not getting involved, whilst in Germany the Group Two 37th Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen - German 2000 Guineas – at Cologne is due off at 12.23 our time on Sunday and even though there are a couple of raiders from the UK I am leaving that alone as well. The bets I am having this weekend follow.
Best bets for the horse racing at Haydock Park
A day of extremes for me at Haydock Park on Saturday as I fancy a stayer and two sprinters. At 2.00 they face 2m for the Cazoo Hell Nook Handicap. I tipped Bandinelli a number of time last season and managed to get him wrong more than once, was on when he won on 2nd January! The gelding has won twice over the two-mile trip at Kempton now and it appears a stamina test suits him. With Buick in Ireland for their Guineas meeting James Doyle will ride and I think the Chestnut gelding can prove the current mark of 98 still a bit lenient. I have the 5-2.
At 3.10 we have the 6f Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes. Go Bears Go returned to action at Ascot last month winning the G.3 Commonwealth Cup Trial Stakes looking in good form at the start of his three-year-old campaign. He was in with the best of the best at the end of last season and of course did win the G.2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh before a number of good efforts in defeat in Group One company. This trip looks to be his ideal and he is fancied to pick-up this prize before bigger summer targets are aimed at. I have the 2-1. Jockey Rossa Ryan said earlier this week, "Reports are he's flying. I don't understand the betting really, he's beat Ehraz very convincingly at Ascot and he was narrowly beaten by Tiber Flow, who ties in closely with El Caballo. I think they'll all have it to do to beat our lad, he's shown that he's trained on and progressed. We didn't go to Ascot fully wound up and it's a gradual build towards the Commonwealth Cup."
At 3.45 it is the 5f Group Two Temple Stakes for the out and out speed merchants. Tim Easterby’s star sprinter Winter Power is the standout name on the card and by all reports the trainer couldn’t be happier with his filly for her seasonal debut. Winner of the G.1 Nunthorpe Stakes last season on paper she has about half-a-stone in hand on this field and as she won first time out last season this being her seasonal debut is of little concern. I am on at the 13-8 I took Friday morning with Power and expect her to lead every yard.
Best bets for the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival at the Curragh this weekend
Newmarket Guineas runner-up Native Trail will face eight rivals when he bids to go one better in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at 3.20. The Godolphin owned colt is the clear pick on form, I am still licking the wounds from his defeat at Newmarket when second to equally top-class stablemate Coroebus in the 2,000 Guineas, and it should be remembered he came here last year and beat the best the home team had in the G.1 National Stakes. He is unsurprisingly long odds-on and basically unbackable. It could be the full set of English, French and Irish 2,000 Guineas for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby this year. Charlie Appleby said Godolphin website this week “Native Trail heads back to the Curragh in great nick. We have been delighted with the way he came out of the 2,000 Guineas and how his preparation has gone. Obviously, a repeat of his Newmarket run is going to make him the one to beat. There are some showers forecast but good or good to soft ground should hopefully make it a fair playing field for everyone.” To give you an idea of how strongly he is fancied Aidan O’Brien has one runner in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and it is 14-1 shot Ivy League! That has to be some sort of first.
Homeless Songs and Tuesday head the market for the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on the Sunday at 3.45. I have mentioned before the Dermot Weld-trained Homeless Songs has been on my mind for the 1,000 at Newmarket and the French 1,000 Guineas but she ultimately skipped both to wait for this. She really caught my eye when winning the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in early April and I think that old shrewdie Weld knows what he is doing and has been waiting for all the stars to align and they should on Sunday at the Curragh at 3.45. I have the 7-2. Tuesday, who was beaten two lengths into third place in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and is a decent filly and considered the danger whilst her stablemate History can also make the places.
The 4.50 on Sunday is the mile William Hill Free Or 4 Spring Fillies Handicap. The Juddmonte owned and bred Juncture ran in the 1,000 Guineas at HQ earlier this month and was in contention until the final couple of furlongs but was found wanting at the top level when the taps were turned on, looked to me to get a bit unbalanced in the dip. Colin Keane was far from hard on her when her chance had gone and she can prove better than the bare facts of her twelfth-place finish suggest. This is a big step-down in class and the way she won a Listed race at Dundalk in March suggests the grey filly is better than her current mark of 98. I will be backing her if odds-against is available when they chalk-up.