With The Derby just a week away it could be easy to forget about racing this weekend and begin focusing on the two days of excellent racing that await at Epsom. However, it is a Classic weekend in Ireland with some strong cards on offer at the Curragh and we also have some decent enough support acts in England on Saturday.
Let’s get straight into the action.
Irish 2,000 Guineas: It is hard to see anything other than Churchill winning. He has proved to be exceptional so far and despite a number of doubters questioning whether he would train on and others looking for fault in his English Guineas win, I think he is clearly the best three year old colt around. Some have said he was fortunate with the run of the race at Newmarket but he has always been the type to do just enough and so I think he would have probably won by a similar distance whichever way the race was run. At 1/3 he is no betting proposition though.
With just the six runners it is difficult to find too much each way value and it may be a better course of action to throw a couple of darts at the straight forecast with Churchill. I’m inclined to play Lancaster Bomber with this approach, as I did at Newmarket. He ran a very good race and just faded out of the places to finish fourth in the closing stages. The form of that run is better than anything else can offer and he is sure to appreciate the quick ground.
ADVICE: Churchill-Lancaster Bomber Straight-Forecast
Temple Stakes (Haydock 4:05): Quiet Reflection had a superb year last season proving herself to be one of the best sprinters in Europe and as such she is likely to be well fancied to make a winning seasonal reappearance here. However, the likely fast ground and rumours surrounding her wellbeing mean I will be taking her on today.
I think the likely angle to take here will be to follow those with form on firmer going as the ground is likely to come up on the fast side. Washington DC looks to have stepped up a level this year, which is hardly surprising given his age and the division he races in, and must be a contender for victory, Priceless could be worth another chance after fading in the closing stages at Newmarket last time and Take Cover must always be considered on quicker ground. However, I’m going to side with GOLDREAM each way. He’s not won in the best part of two years but is always a factor in the big five furlong sprints and seems to still have the ability to compete judged on his Newmarket third last time out. He is a better horse on ground with firm in the description and under his favoured conditions I think he represents the value here.
ADVICE: Goldream E/W @ 9/1 (1/4 odds 1,2,3 – Bet365)
York 2:40: Frontiersman has an impeccable pedigree and looks to have improved with age so could be a cut above this level, but at the 2/1 available he wouldn’t be for me in what looks to be a decent handicap field and as such I’ll look for some each way value.
There are a number who line-up here who could show some improvement and prove better than their current marks but I’m going to side with GOLDMEMBER. He’ll definitely need to improve to figure but he did run in some good races last year, running okay without ever really going close in those, which suggests connections thought highly enough of him. He has been gelded since his last run and the comments in running from last year suggest he could be one to benefit from the procedure, so with David Simcock’s horses in decent form I’m going to take a chance on Goldmember finding enough improvement to feature.
Frontiersman will probably win but Goldmember offers value at 18/1.
ADVICE: Goldmember E/W @ 18/1 (1/4 odds 1,2,3 – Bet365)