It’s a big weekend of racing across the Irish Sea with the Irish Derby the main event at the Curragh over the two-day meeting Saturday and Sunday. The big race the Group One Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby will be shown live on ITV as well as the decent card at HQ Newmarket and the card at Newcastle.
Best bet for the horse racing at Newmarket
Royal Crusade was entered up for a couple of Group Three events on Saturday and goes for the 7f Close Brothers Criterion Stakes at 3.15. Having signed off winning a Group Three in France in the autumn he had a couple of runs earlier this year out at the Dubai Carnival when midfield in 6f Group 3 at Meydan and same again in Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint later that month. The Newmarket race option, even though seven furlongs, is possibly the easiest for the colt – won over track and trip on debut and stepping back up to that trip might suit now. Supersub Adam Kirby rides and I have the 10-1 each-way. Charlie Appleby said earlier this week “Royal Crusade was a little disappointing in Dubai but has definitely been training better since coming back to Newmarket. It’s his first time over this distance since his two-year-old days but, if you look at the pick of his form, he should be bang there. We hoped that he would be a real out-and-out sprinter but he doesn’t seem to have that natural dash about him and looks like a seven-furlong horse these days.” Kinross the obvious danger whilst stable mate to the selection Glorious Journey will no doubt run a fair race yet again.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh
The Group One 1m4f Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is fur off at 3.45. Aidan O’Brien unsurprisingly has multiple entries; in fact, nearly half the field. High Definition is out to try and silence the doubters having been beaten by Hurricane Lane in the Dante at York; the winner tipped on here. I said after the race I think High Definition might be more of a St Leger horse and at the moment still do. Hurricane Lane went on to finish third in the Derby (again tipped on here) and was perhaps a little ill at ease on the ups and downs of Epsom. I think this track will suit him just fine, in fact uphill finish might suit best, and I see little reason to believe the jolly can overturn the Dante form, though that colt should strip fitter today. I am sticking with Hurricane Lane and have taken the 11-2. Charlie Appleby told the Godolphin website this week “We were pleased with Hurricane Lane’s effort at Epsom Downs and he has more experience under his belt going into this. He was an inexperienced horse going into the Derby and it may have found him out slightly, but he has definitely sharpened up for the run. The style of the track at the Curragh should suit him better and, if he can repeat his Derby effort, it will certainly make him very competitive.”
The Group Two 6f GAIN Railway Stakes earlier on the card is always worth a look as some good ones have run in this race down the years as two-year-olds. I can make a case for three or four of the runners so won’t be punting but will be watching.
Best bet for the horse racing at The Curragh Sunday
The big race on Sunday out at the Curragh is the 3.40 1m2f Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes for fillies and mares. Dirty Dozen member Santa Barbara has a chance to take her first Group One having finished fourth in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket over what is surely too short a trip and then fifth the Oaks at Epsom, I tipped her that day. She faces older fillies here as well as three-year-olds over the intermediate trip of ten furlongs and on what I have seen so far this could prove her trip. Getting 12lb from the four-year-olds is huge and if she is to pick up G.1 honours this season this is as good a chance as she is likely to get, I reckon. I have the early 5-2 with Hills.Be lucky