HORSE RACING: Leading pundit Charlie McCann gives his latest weekend racing preview. This week the former Talksport tipster picks out potential winners at the Curragh and Haydock.
Aidan O’Brien saddles six of the thirteen runners for today’s Irish 2000 Guineas from the Curragh (3.45) and StanJames.com bet 8/13 he doesn’t land his 7th win in the race and 11/8 he does. The lightly-raced Steinbeck (3/1) makes his seasonal reappearance having missed Newmarket as a result of a minor setback in the spring.
Most of the O’Brien three-year-olds have come on for the run this term but Steinbeck has always been considered potentially a top class colt. It is possible that we may not see the best of him until later in the season, but stable jockey Johnny Murtagh prefers him to Fencing Master who was beaten 4l in the StanJames.com 2000 Guineas when connections suggested he would have preferred a faster pace.
There are a couple of Ballydoyle pacemakers in today’s field to ensure an end-to-end gallop and that is not certain to suit the English raider Canford Cliffs (11/4 fav). Trainer Richard Hannon is looking for his third win in the race having saddled Tirol in 1990 and Don’t Forget Me in 1987 and he is aware that the Ballydoyle tactics will be to try and exploit any stamina limitations in the colt who is reported to have worked brilliantly on Wednesday morning. This is the acid test for Canford Cliffs who I have always considered a top-class sprinter in the making rather than a miler. We shall know for certain later this afternoon.
The big betting race of the day is the Betfred Silver Bowl from Haydock Park over the extended mile. In a big field on fast ground I always consider a low draw an advantage and Balducci (2.30) drawn in stall 3 ran a cracker in a hot handicap at Newmarket last time and despite a 3lb rise remains fairly treated for this valuable contest. Top-weight No Hubris was considered potentially top class by connections when winning at York on debut but disappointed (behind Canford Cliffs) at Royal Ascot last summer. He missed the rest of the season with a minor injury but made a winning reappearance at Sandown last month and, despite top-weight, is another to consider in a race that is sure to throw up a raft of winners during the season.
Beyond Desire failed to go on from her Goodwood debut success but her entry in the July Cup later in the year suggests that connections haven’t given up on her just yet and she ought to have too much speed for her elders in the listed 6f contest at 3.30.
Ryan Moore keeps the ride on Peponi in the 4.40 for Peter Makin and, despite having finished runner up in all three starts; there was much to like about his Windsor effort at the beginning of the month when narrowly failing to give 13lbs to a well-backed Hannon horse. He could have been let in lightly from a mark of 77 although he has yet to race on ground as quick as he will face today and the progeny of former Derby winner Kris Kin have a very modest record on fast ground.
Frankie Dettori is on the Knavesmire and is unlikely to leave without visiting the winner’s enclosure with Age Of Reason taken to land a very competitive 3.10 York. Aajel looks sure to ensure a decent pace and this ought to suit the Godolphin runner who holds two entries at Royal Ascot next month.
The Irish 1000 Guineas is tomorrow’s feature from the Curragh with 19 to post including Music Show who finished 6th in the Newmarket equivalent for Mick Channon. Last year’s Irish Derby winner Fame And Glory (3.40) will go off a very warm order for the Gp 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup but Godolphin’s recent French import Cutlass Bay will give him plenty to think about and could easily upset the odds on favourite.
Irish 1000 Guineas; Sunday Curragh 4.25 (prices from StanJames.com):
7-2 Music Show
7-2 Anna Salai
4 Lolly For Dolly
6 Gile Na Greine
9 Lillie Langtry
For all your sporting odds this weekend check out Stanjames.com or ring 0800211222