Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival Plus Haydock Temple Stakes

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend the usual plethora of horseracing fixtures here and abroad await us!  I will have one eye on the Emerald Isle all weekend with it being Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival weekend out at the Curragh.

Churchill will face just five rivals as he bids for a Classic double in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. Aidan O'Brien's charge won the British version at the start of the month and he will once again be joined by stable mates Lancaster Bomber and Spirit Of Valor, who finished fourth and eighth respectively at Newmarket. At 4-11 he is hardly a working mans price but looks rock solid. Michael Halford's Irishcorrespondent is unbeaten in two starts this year and steps up to Group One level, while Ger Lyons' Glastonbury Song is another to jump in class after winning at Dundalk last month. Godolphin runner Thunder Snow completes the line-up after a disappointing performance in the Kentucky Derby where he was pulled up after bucking and generally showing off early in the race.

As for the fillies Winter will face seven rivals when she bids to complete her version of the Classic double in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on the Sunday. The daughter of Galileo held off stable companion and my punt in the race Rhododendron at Newmarket three weeks ago. Aidan O'Brien is looking for a seventh victory in this Group One contest and at 4-5 she is hard to oppose on the form from HQ. O'Brien also saddles Hydrangea, who is fitted with cheekpieces after disappointing at Newmarket, Asking and Roly Poly. Joseph O'Brien sends Intricately into battle, but last season's Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine will also need to raise her game after failing to fire at Newmarket. Rehana is a major contender for Mick Halford after she was impressive in the Athasi Stakes at Naas at the start of the month. Kevin Prendergast is represented by Aneen, who has not been seen since bolting up in a Curragh maiden last October. Jim Bolger's recent 1,000 Guineas Trial winner Bean Feasa completes the line-up.

Also on the card in Ireland on Saturday in the Group Two Greenlands Stakes Acapulco should be lining up for Mr O’Brien. I am a huge fan and the four-year-old has to be fancied though is also likely to be short but no –one has priced up at the time of writing.

Another race to note out in Ireland this time on the Sunday is the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup which is likely to see Somehow take on O’Brien stable mate Deauville. I have a slight preference for the filly at 4-1. At the prices an O’Brien weekend long Yankee may be the way to go. 

Back here in Blighty they have a good card at Haydock on Saturday. 

The Group two Sandy Lane Stakes at 3.30 can go to Harry Angel. He signed off his 2yo campaign winning the G.2 Mill Reef and made a decent reappearance when second in the G.3 Pavilion Stakes behind impressive winner Blue Point. 5-4 is about and I would suggest grabbing it. Second Thought may pose a threat having been in storming form on the sand over the winter but he is now rated 21lb higher than in January and may have reached his peak.

Quiet Reflection tops the twelve for the Group Two Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at 4.05. Karl Burke, trainer of the dual Group One winner, had expressed some concerns about the current warm spell of weather earlier in the week as his filly needs a bit of cut in the ground. But with showers forecast, he has decided to give his stable star the option. Burke is keeping his fingers firmly crossed the current weather forecast is correct and admitted it is likely to be a late call on the filly's participation. He said: "Heavy showers are forecast for Saturday and I'm told the ground was in great shape on Thursday morning, but it is a red-hot day so it's going to dry up a bit more you would have thought. I think it will be a late call and we'll see how the ground is on Saturday." Aidan O'Brien has declared Washington DC, meaning Acapulco misses out, and the colt has to enter calculations and has form on good-firm. I think it will go to one or the other but will hold off to take a look at what description they are giving the going as on Saturday – firm in the description get on Washington DC if it is soft it will be Quiet Reflection.

They are due to race at Chelmsford City on Bank Holiday Monday. Vincentti could prove of interest in the toteexacta Classified Claiming Stakes at 2.30 whilst Lucymai is due to run in the toteWin Fillies' Handicap at 4.15 and goes well in Essex. I will confirm if both are being backed on the day.

Be lucky