Yesterday wasn’t good enough. The tracker section provided a winner with The Corsican, who cruised up in the end to win at Goodwood.
Today focuses on The Curragh with the Irish 1000 Guineas and the Gold Cup. Plus there will be a quick look at the Longchamp card with some interesting Group races.
3:10 Longchamp – Prix D’Ispahan
This looks a tasty Group 1 with Cirrus Des Aigles taking on Solow. The latter has won on his last five starts and will want that continue however coming up against the experienced Cirrus Des Aigles won’t be too easy. If you were having a bet on this five-runner affair you would rather take the experience and multiple Group 1 winner Cirrus Des Aigles, who is currently 13/8 in the market over the odds-on shot of Solow, who is progressing nicely and won a Group 1 race over in Meydan when beating The Grey Gatsby. It is a fascinating race and both have entries into races at Royal Ascot in June.
3:20 The Curragh – Gold Cup
The Grey Gatsby has shown he is adaptable to a range of grounds. He won on firm ground at Leopardstown in September to beat, the Derby winner, Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes and previously won the Dante at York on soft ground. He is a consistent horse and always runs his race. As Ryan Moore said the other day he arguably doesn’t get the credit he deserves. When you look at his record and see he has ran in seven Group 1 races, winning two and finishing second twice, it proves he is a horse of quality. His last outing in March was over in Meydan where he was well beaten by Solow, who runs over at Longchamp today. For that he has dropped 1lb on the handicap and for me looks the one to beat.
Al Kazeem will be his main challenger. He was 5th in the Irish Champion Stakes behind The Grey Gatsby and should prefer this softer ground, which he has been racing on in recent times. He has ran twice over at Longchamp this year. He won the Group 2 Prix D’Harcourt before finishing 2nd behind Cirrus Des Aigles Prix Ganay. Any of those runs could see him challenge the selection here.
Postponed needs to find further improvement and I can’t have him shorter than Al Kazeem in the market. He needs to prove he can act on this softer ground. Fascinating Rock needs to make a big step up like Postponed. Parish Hall always runs his race and has performed at this level before. He does need to find something extra to beat The Grey Gatsby or Al Kazeem but may be slightly overpriced. If you are bold enough you could try the reverse forecast.
Advice: The Grey Gatsby (6/4 win)
Al Kazeem (10/3 each-way)
3:45 Longchamp – Prix Vicomtesse Vigier
A long distance Group 2 where the class of the race comes in the terms of Tac De Boistron, who was 2nd at Chester behind Clever Cookie in the Ormonde Stakes. Looking at this race on paper he should be the winner but it could become a tactical affair. Bathyrhon was 2nd to High Jinx in the 2m4f Prix Du Cadran at the track and Tac De Boistron has beaten High Jinx on a number of occasions and on that form could be the main challenger. Glaring was 2nd in a Group 3 and would need to step-up to challenge the classy Botti horse. The only other concern away from the tactics of the race is if the drying ground could cause him a few problems. He was 2nd in good ground in May at York where he didn’t find anything extra in the closing stages however that is proof he handles it and should prove too good for his opposition today.
3:55 The Curragh: Irish 1000 Guineas
Found heads the betting and is one of only a few that have an Oaks entry. She won the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac as a two-year-old quite stylishly but she was beaten on her seasonal reappearance here over 7f and that was on heavy ground, some of the factors that were against her. She will have improved and come on for that run and if fully tuned up should prove the class of this race.
However with 18 set to go to post I’m going to put forward a case for two at better prices. Firstly the Mick Channon trainer Malabar, who it can be argued has been slightly unlucky so far in her career. She has ran good races but has finished in 4th just outside the places. She was 4th in the Moyglare Stakes here at the end of last season finishing only ½ a length behind found. She followed that up with a 4th in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, which Found won, and last time out she was 4th in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. She is 1lb lower for that effort and comes her quite well in herself. She is drawn in stall nine meaning Martin Harley will be able to decided where the pace or better ground is when breaking to put in her best effort.
The other would be Pleascach for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning. She was very impressive in winning the Group 3 Blue Wind Stakes at Naas over 1m2f and trainer Jim Bolger has high hopes for this filly. After that race he admitted the Irish Derby would be on the agenda, as he doesn’t feel Epsom will suit her but in time will be able to go 1m4f. For this she is stepping down in trip and has been risen 12lb for that success but she seems like a filly that will take that in her stride. The manner of the victory was taking and she did go off the 10/11 favourite however there is a question of what she beat that day. Hopefully she can run well and prove is has the quality that her connections believe she has.
The horse attracting support in the markets so far has been the Dermot Weld Joailliere who won on her only start by 7l. She won that three-year-old maiden well and seemed to be in control from a long way out however she is one that I would rather watch and possibly take out of this on just her second start.
Advice: Pleascach (9/1 each-way)
Malabar (16/1 each-way)