It’s a busy weekend with plenty of racing to get stuck into if you choose. I am being a little selective but still have five bets running.
Irish Guineas at the Curragh
I will deal with the Irish Classics first in the shape of the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish 1,000 Guineas both being run this weekend at the Curragh.
Firstly, a word of warning, racing at the Curragh on Saturday is in doubt after the track was hit with 34mm of rain Thursday into Friday with officials deciding to call a 7.30am inspection on the day of racing. The going is unsurprisingly described as Heavy as I write on Friday and officials at the track were describes as hopeful rather than confident racing will go ahead. More rain is forecast on Friday with showers Saturday and more rain Sunday.
The Group One Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas is due off at 3.20 on Saturday. No great shock that Aidan O’Brien is having a right go at the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas as he aims to win the race for a record twelfth time. Battleground, Van Gogh and Wembley represent the Ballydoyle handler on Saturday but, for once, all have a little something to prove having been well-beaten in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Winner that day Poetic Flare is also now on a retrieval mission after Jim Bolger’s colt could finish only sixth in the French 2000 Guineas on Sunday. Lucky Vega, third at HQ, heads the market proving what a wide-open affair it is. La Borrsa was second in the G.3 Craven Stakes last time behind stablemate Master Of The Seas who of course was just headed in the 2,000 at Newmarket. That now looks a fairly strong piece of form and he was on my shortlist for this but the going is a worry; he has run once on heavy when well beaten in the G.1 Prix Criterium International, won by Van Gogh, last back end. The one time Wembley has finished out of the places was in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month on good-firm ground. His second in the G.1 Dewhurst Stakes on soft back in October looks pretty solid form now, St Marks Basilica winning the G.1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains last weekend and interestingly he is the choice of Ryan Moore again. At 9-2 I think he might be the colt best suited to the likely conditions at the wekend out in Ireland and is the pick for this race, though I think others will prove better as the season continues.
The Fillies are due off at 3.15 for the Group One Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on the Sunday. Pretty Gorgeous was on my mind for the 1,000 Guineas but she of course did not run having returned a bad scope on the Friday morning before the race. Hopefully she will be fit and well for this as the ground, it’ won’t dry out much before Sunday, should suit her just fine. She clearly has a very good chance on two-year-old form, hopefully she has trained on, and she will be ridden by regular jockey Shane Crosse, who is seeking a first Classic success of his career. I grabbed 9-4 with Power on Friday.
Best bets for the horse racing at Newmarket
Going at HQ is much better than elsewhere and is described as good-soft with the possibility of some rain but may stay dry. The opener at Newmarket is the 6f Wingate Signs British EBF Novice Stakes at 1.25. I mentioned last weekend it is a tried and tested theory for me to back Godolphin newcomers at HQ, didn’t quite work last week as Before dawn was second, but it’s no bad system. This Saturday Charlie Appleby sends Sovereign Prince to make his debut in this. By Dubawi out of G.2 Cherry Hinton winner Gamilati he should be a decent two-year-old with parents like them. full-brother Gold Stick and half-brother Nasimi were both winners, the latter a winner on debut himself. This one is worth a speculative punt to kick his career off with a victory. Grab the best price you can when they chalk-up.
Best bets for the horse racing at Haydock Park
It should be pretty soft underhoof up at Haydock Park where they have had a pretty wet couple of days I am told, the going is described up there as Round Course: Heavy, Straight Course: Soft heavy in places as I write on Friday afternoon. It looked to be all about the need for speed with a couple of Group sprints on the card but a certain amount of stamina will now also be required.
At 3.35 we have the Group Two 6f Casumo Bet10Get10 Sandy Lane Stakes for three-year-olds. Dragon Symbol arrives with a perfect record of four wins from four starts having made his belated debut only in March this year. The Archie Watson trained grey has flown up the ratings with wins at Wolverhampton, Newcastle and Kempton on the All-Weather and a comfortable win on Turf debut at Hamilton over 5f in a Conditions Stakes earlier this month. The soft going is a total unknown though and on breeding you would think won’t suit at all. Mujbar has won twice, both over 7f on going on which he could get his toe-in, so the rain will be of little concern to Charlie Hills and the team for their charge. On Breeding the wet weather is a plus again as sire Muhaarar won on soft ground as did his dam Madany plus half-brothers Hathiq, Eqtidaar and Massart all have winning form on softer ground. Not disgraced on his seasonal debut in the 7f Greenham Stakes he did look more like a sprinter than a miler there to my eyes so no surprise to me he drops back to six. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dane O’Neil turn the taps on a fair way out in this and try and make it a proper stiff six and I think 8-1 is big so have taken it happily.
Straight after at 4.10 it’s the minimum trip of five for the Group Two Casumo Best Odds Guaranteed Temple Stakes. I was hopeful Godolphin might send Lazuli for this but resisted the urge to have an ante-post punt luckily as he stays at home. Liberty Beach is a sprinter I quite like and who has winning form on softer going and was only just beaten in the 5f G.1 Prix de l'Abbaye last back end on heavy. I am on this one at 9-4 and fancy him pretty strongly. Que Amoro surely wants faster ground so Keep Busy in the one feared.