Irish Guineas Preview

Irish Guineas Preview

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The worlds best three-year-old milers head to Curragh this weekend for the Irish Guineas…

It’s one of the biggest weekends on the Irish flat racing calendar this week as Europe’s elite head to The Curragh for the 2000 and 1000 Irish Guineas. With prize money of €233,000 up for grabs in both of the Group 1 contests, there’s a huge amount to play for and they’re certainly two races that trainers and jockeys take very seriously. We’ve got a tip for every race over the weekend for you from The Curragh so take a look and remember to tweet us your thoughts into @TWEnclosure.

Saturday

13:50 – Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden

In what looks to be a wide open maiden, we’ve gone for AP O’Brien’s GOSSAMER WINGS to reign supreme. Out of Grade 1 winning Scat Daddy, this 2-year-old filly was rather disappointing on debut earlier this month. After been sent off 3/1 favourite, she struggled right from the off to finishing a disappointing 10 lengths 7th. However, taking into consideration O’Brien’s superb record with his maidens on their second run along with the horses clear desire to stay further than the five furlongs she ran over on debut, she could be a real one to keep an eye on.

14:25 – FBD Hotels And Resorts Handicap

A tricky handicap to pick from, we’ve gone for the least experienced horse in the field in the form of Michael Halford’s ARCANEARS. Sent of as a 33/1 outsider on debut at the end of last month were he finished a six lengths 8th, he defied the 20/1 odds on his next appearance over course and distance pulling away at the end to claim a two length victory. Now on much firmer ground which he looks as though he will thrive off and seemingly well handicapped, he could cause a big shock to the more experienced horses in the field.

15:00 – Cold Move Irish European Breeders Marble Hill Stakes (Listed)

Now for the first Listed contest of the weekend and we head to Ballydoyle once again for our tip with VAN BEETHOVEN looking like the one to beat. Third on debut at Newmarket last month, he headed back across the Irish Sea to Naas at the start of this month where like most of O’Brien’s runners second time out, broke his maiden in rather convincing style. A big antepost fancy for many in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, this is already a horse who is highly respected after just two runs and if he lives up to the hype, he shouldn’t have any problems here.

15:35 – Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (Group 2)

A race won last year by the legendary Gordon Lord Byron, the Greenlands Stakes offers an opportunity to the older flat horses to reignite their careers or even go out on a high. This year we’re taking a real fancy to the William Haggas trained TASLEET. Second in last years British Champion Sprint Stakes and proven on a variety of grounds, the 5-year-old colt has seemed to excel over six furlongs winning or placing in eight of his 10 runs over the distance. Another outstanding factor is how well he runs fresh. He hasn’t run since the Champion Sprint Stakes 217 days ago but on the two occasions he’s run after 200+ days off a race track, he’s won and then placed. There will be big competition from the likes of Brando and Merchant Navy but as long as he doesn’t get knocked about to much, he SHOULD be hard to beat.

16:10 – Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (Group 1)

Mark Johnston sends over his British raider ELARQAM to the Curragh in a bid to upstage the Irish, and we are backing him to do so. He’s already been supported in the market and all the signs are positive. He ran a decent race in his 4th place finish in the 2000 Guineas with Aidan O’Brien’s Gustav Klimt was in-behind that day, who had already had their seasonal reappearance. Elarqam will come on plenty and should go close.

16:45 – Lanwades Stud Stakes (Fillies’ Group 2)

Out of Frankel to Alexander Goldrun, 4-year-old filly GOLDRUSH has continued to upset the odds over and over again and we believe she will continue that trend once again in the Lanwades Stud Stakes this weekend. Unlike most of her half brothers and sisters, she was an each way price on debut which she ran well better than to claim a three length victory. She has gone on to become a two time Listed winner since her debut run and with this been her fourth run, she is once again expected to improve. Still unbeaten, she still holds the ‘could be anything tag’ and with Hydrangea understandably expected to go off short priced favourite, it’s going to take something special but we reckon Goldrush really could have the ability to pose a massive threat to the AP O’Brien filly.

17:20 – Curragh ‘Where Champions Are Made’ Spring Fillies Handicap

A fairly competitive affair, the 3-year-old Curragh ‘Where Champions Are Made’ Spring Fillies Handicap will see a field of 11 go to post. With no stand out form in the race, we’re heading to Mick Halford’s yard for the second time today for BLACKGOLD FAIRY. She broke her maiden at the second time of asking in clinical fashion at the end of February destroying the field to claim a six and a half length victory. She then finished 4th behind Mendelssohn, who in the race after claimed an 18 length victory in the UAE Derby, some form to come out of that race. Now poised for her turf debut off top weight, she will be in with a great chance of getting amongst the places at least.

17:55 – Curragh ‘Where Champions Are Made’ Handicap

After breaking his maiden at the second time of asking over a mile, CAFFE MACCHIATO is certainly a horse on the up. Trained by Adrian Keatley, his first win came on his handicap debut at Navan at the end of last month. A hard fought 4th to Another Batt at Chester over the extended 7f a couple of weeks ago shouldn’t be a run looked too much into but now back on home territory in a rather weak field, he should cause a big threat to the likes of Rock Sound and the unreliable Bond Street.

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Sunday

13:50 – Tally Ho Stud Irish European Breeders Fund (C & G) Maiden

As with Saturdays maiden, we’re going for second time out AP O’Brien runner in the form of NORTH WIND. Third behind stablemate Van Beethoven at the start of the month, the form has worked out quite nicely from that race and despite the fact that nine of the 14 horses in the field are on debut, he most definitely sets the standard and should be rather difficult to beat.

14:25 – Tattersalls Gold Cup (Group 1)

In what the cliche lovers could refer to as a ‘two horse race,’ this years Tattersalls Gold Cup offers an intriguing contest between Roger Varian’s DEFOE and AP O’Brien’s CLIFFS OF MOHER. There’s not much to split these two but we’ve had to go for the three time Group winner DEFOE. 2/2 so far this season but both over a mile and a half, this is clearly a horse with masses amounts of ability. The only question that surrounds him is how well suited to 10 furlongs is he? He’s won once in his two runs over the distance with that last win coming almost a year to the day. If he’s on his game and shows the sort of form he’s shown this season, he should win rather comfortably. The reason why we haven’t gone for Cliffs Of Moher is simply down to his inconsistency. In his 11 race career so far he has only recorded back to back victories once and that came after a 195 day break between his maiden win and Listed victory at Chester.

15:00 – Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes (Group 3)

Just one run into his career, the Joseph O’Brien rained MING has already got a lot of people talking. A convincing winner at Dundalk in April, along with Boho he’s the only runner in the race to have ran just once. He’ll face stiff competition from the likes of Conclusion, Platinum Warrior and Harvestfortheworld but the way he won on debut was just simply terrific and if Billy Lee manages to keep him running in a straight line instead of hanging right as he did at Dundalk, it’s going to take one excellent performance to beat him.

15:35 – K Club Handicap

One of the final handicaps of the weekend, the K Club Handicap offers a great chance for the older Irish handicappers to lay claim to a potential listed or group appearance later on in the season. For the race, we’re really taking a fancy to the Dermot Weld trained ESPOIR D’SOLEIL. One victory from five career races, he’s now back after a 214 day break and 4lbs better off from his last run and now on firmer ground which he’s clearly been waiting for. A nice draw should work in his favour and with Weld in imperious form with six winners from his last 19 runners (Up to Friday 25th May), he’d definitely be one to keep an eye on.

16:10 – Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas (Fillies’ Group 1)

There’s only one horse we fancy for this race and that horse is HAPPILY. Trained by Aidan O’Brien who is one of Irelands’ highly regarded trainers and Ryan Moore has been booked for the ride which is usually a positive. The horse has won 5 previous starts, including two group 1 success at Chantilly and the Curragh. Having already won at this course previously, she clearly has an excellent chance, although the likes of Godolphin’s Soliloquy and Happily’s stablemate Clemmie have great chances within this race. Finally, O’Brien is well known for entering several horses into races of this stature and for his stable jockey to have chosen this selection along with O’Brien choosing Moore over his son Donnacha, that alone should point punters in the right direction as to which O’Brien selection to be on.

16:45 – Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund ‘Habitat’ Handicap

Highly rated as a two-year-old, AMBASSADORIAL didn’t live up to the potential which he once promised. Listed winner in 2016, he had a fairly quiet 2017 running just once in the listed Dundalk Patton Stakes. However, he made an impressive debut on turf last time out over 7f where he was a four lengths 4th behind Brother Bear. Now upped to a mile on his second appearance on turf, he may well just be able to show some the potential he once promised as a two year old.

17:20 – Curragh ‘Where Champions Are Made’ Handicap

For this one, we’ve gone for an interesting looking outsider. The JP McManus owned WESTERN BOY hasn’t won on the flat in nearly three years and has since been hurdling alongside running on the flat here and there. Now back to a mark of 82, just a pound heavier than his win over course and distance in 2015, he’s more than well treated with the handicapper and if he takes a liking to the ground he could cause a real shock.

17:55 – Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden

The final race of the weekend sees 16 horses go to post for the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden and we’ve gone for the Joseph O’Brien trained ROCKABILL. Impressive on debut when finishing 4th to Bond Street at Dundalk at the start of the month, he seemingly looked to be kicking on in the final furlong. Now upped to 10f, there is plenty of horses with unknown ability in this field but we believe that as long as he gets away well, Rockabill will be the one to beat.

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