The Irish 2000 Guineas is this evening’s highlight from the Curragh, one of five races to be broadcast live on ITV4. The unbeaten Siskin is the short-priced market leader for the classic, but all his wins have been over 6f and his stamina for a mile must be taken on trust.
Aidan O’Brien has saddled the winner of the corresponding race on no fewer than eleven previous occasions and he is mob-handed again saddling six of the 11-runner field. Armory looks first choice of the Ballydoyle battalions on juvenile form and jockey bookings, but I am a big fan of Vatican City (6.40) and hope this brother of the 2015 winner Gleneagles can build on what was a very fluent win at Dundalk back in October over 7f on just his second start.
The ew selection – 8/1 with Boylesports – raced three wide on that occasion but just had to be nudged out to score and hit the line very well. Gleneagles certainly enjoyed good or faster ground and I hope there is no significant rain at the Curragh in the build up to the race. Mick Halford’s Sinawann didn’t get the run of the race behind Mogul in the Gp 2 Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown back in September and he is another to consider although I do think he may need 10f to be seen at his very best.
Lough Cutra (4.40) represents the same connections as Siskin but I hope the step up to 10f will help him make it third time lucky in the 3-y-old maiden. The selection was beaten less than a length by Russian Emperor over a Mile back in March and the winner really should have followed up in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown earlier in the week. The colt – 3/1 from 4s with bet365 – has only raced on soft ground but is bred to be appreciate today’s underfoot conditions.
One filly I am looking forward to see run this season is Fleeting (7.45) who didn’t have much luck on a number of occasions last season but has the beating of Search For A Song on Irish Oaks form from last summer. The latter – who was backed into favouritism on Thursday – improved with her racing in the second half of the campaign, but I feel the O’Brien filly will have too much pace back at 10f and she has been entered at the six-day stage for Wednesday’s Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes over this distance at Royal Ascot. Latrobe is another who is, arguably, better at a longer distance and I hope to see Fleeting – 15/8 with Boylesports – race more prominently than was often the case last term.
I hope there is more to come from Society Lion (4.55) this term and the lightly raced three-year-old is fitted with a tongue-tie for his reappearance at Newbury. The selection – 3/1 with bet365 – was green as grass when fourth at Newmarket on debut but knew more about his job when scoring at Yarmouth on heavy ground back in October when he had Mishriff – winner of a listed contest last weekend – back in fourth. Ryan Moore keeps the ride and I would be disappointed if he were not competitive from an opening mark of 86.
Dubai Mirage (2.15) finished third in the 7f Convivial Maiden at York back in August and that race is the richest maiden held anywhere in Britain during the season. The Godolphin runner had previously finished second over a mile at Sandown on debut and he steps back up in trip for his reappearance on the all-weather at Kempton. Oisin Murphy keeps the ride and I will be disappointed if he cannot make it third time lucky. Varian’s Winter Thorn is a well-bred newcomer, but he will have to be well above average to lower the colours of Saeed Bin Suroor’s Dubawi colt who is 4/6 with bet365.
Jojo Rabbit showed blistering early pace but was collared close home at Lingfield on Monday and he looks sure to have his supporters in a fascinating 5f Novice event at Wolverhampton. I think he might help set the race up for the filly Winter Power (1.00) who was stuck out wide at Newcastle on debut while the action was developing stands’ side. She was well supported on debut – and backed into a shade of odds on (10/11 with William Hill on Thursday evening) and I hope she can recover losses this afternoon although the form of the Tim Easterby stable is a concern.
Shoot To Kill (1.30) travelled well but failed to get home over Newcastle’s stiff 6f on his reappearance. Connections look to have found a gilt-edged opportunity for their three-year-old to break his maiden tag dropped to the minimum trip for the first time. At Evens with Unibet I will be disappointed if he is still a maiden by close of business tomorrow.
The filly Ruby Wonder ran well first time out last season and she rates the danger, but I hope to see Connor Beasley make plenty of use of George Scott’s son of Dandy Man with that run at Gosforth Park under his belt.
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