A big two days of racing are coming up at The Curragh, with the first Classics of the Irish season being run.
The Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas will be run on Friday and the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas on Saturday.
A superb card of racing on Friday is previewed here by our regular racing pundit, Alan Marron, who came up with 18/1 (Parkers Hill) and 9/2 (Masteroffoxhounds) winners at Naas on Monday.
CURRAGH PREVIEW FRIDAY 12TH JUNE
4.05 TALLY HO STUD IRISH EBF (C + G) MAIDEN
The first maiden of the day and it looks to concern the Ballydoyle battalion as normal here at headquarters. MERCHANTS QUAY, who cost 300k as a yearling, looks the one to be most interested in. Seamie Heffernan is on board and that must count for a lot going on the last few days in regards to the O’Brien juveniles. They seem to be a lot further forward at this time of year compared to normal and if this horse was to win impressively we may see him at Royal Ascot next week.
4.40 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF (C + G) MAIDEN
If we take this race purely on form then KING OF THE THRONE deserves to get his head in front. He finished sixth behind Kameko in the Vertem Futurity at Newcastle last season and that form got a lovely boost when Kameko went and won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
I was very disappointed with this horse on his last run at Dundalk when he finished third to Psyche, dropping away tamely after hanging right up the straight. The time off could have done him the world of good and he looks the form value in the race.
5.10 EQUINE MEDIRECORD HANDICAP
As normal at The Curragh on the big weekends we have some very competitive handicaps to get our teeth into.
Trying to compare an all-weather mark and translate it back to the turf can be a tricky thing to do but, if ALFREDO ARCANO can get nicely positioned early here, I would expect him to go well.
He has a lower handicap mark on the turf and will race off 86 this time around compared to his all-weather mark of 102. He just might be the type to come back to himself after nearly 100 days off the track.
Oisin Orr won on this horse over course and distance back in June 2018 so he knows him well.
In a very tricky race, he could be worth a small each-way bet.
5.40 ANGELSEY LODGE EQUINE HOSPITAL HANDICAP
Noel Meade is generally known as a very good jumps trainer but he also likes to have a nice flat horse too and his colt here LAFAYETTE looks to have a strong chance with Chris Hayes booked.
He impressed me with the manner of his victory at Navan back in September when he ran on strongly under Colin Keane to get up close home. This type of race should suit him nicely as he is likely to be covered up and come with a sweeping late run. In his last run he was very unlucky to be touched off by Lustown Baba right on the line and his attitude was commendable, as he showed no signs of shirking the battle.
He is the type to make a lovely three year-old and I would expect a very bold showing this time around.
6.10 COOLMORE TEN SOVEREIGNS GALLINULE STAKES (GROUP 3)
One of the features on the day and it looks to be a two-horse war between father and son. Joseph O’Brien is responsible for the unbeaten Crossfirehurricane, who has done his winning on the Polytrack at Dundalk, while MYTHICAL , trained by Aidan O’Brien, has some solid Group form to his name and, for me, looks the one to beat.
His run when fourth in the Zetland at Newmarket has been well advertised with Berkshire Rocco being placed last weekend while Miss Yoda traded at some high prices before she got there and won cosily at Lingfield.
On his last run he was third in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud and, with the likes of The Summit in behind, that again has been well advertised. The Summit won his trial for the French 2000 Guineas and then finished a very good second to Victor Ludorum in the race itself.
I think Mythical is crying out for the step up in trip and he could be one of the horses in Ballydoyle that we could say at the end of the season, isn’t he a good one?
6.40 TATTERSALLS IRISH 2000 GUINNEAS (GROUP 1)
The feature of the day, the Irish 2000 Guineas and, while most of the attention will be on the Ger Lyons trained Siskin, I think that many pundits are forgetting one horse in the race.
Since Seamie Heffernan has been booked for the ride the price on LOPE Y FERNANDEZ has started to shorten. He was on my radar for the English 2,000 Guineas but never made the journey. His debut at The Curragh was very impressive when he quickened clear to win going away. He then went to Royal Ascot and started favourite for the Chesham but was put in his place by Pinatubo.
He was very much in and out after that, again finishing behind Pinatubo at Goodwood only to go and win the Round Tower Stakes at The Curragh very nicely. His run in the Middle Park at Newmarket was flat, but I honestly believe we will see a completely different horse this year.
He is two-from-two at The Curragh and I think he is the type to have grown considerably and make into a very nice three year-old.
The step up to a mile will suit and he looks the type who could be very exciting. My nap of the day.
7.15 IRISH LINCOLNSHIRE HANDICAP
The Irish Lincolnshire is one of those ‘stick a pin in it’ handicaps but I think I have found one at a double-figure price that can give us a decent run for our money.
INSIGNIA OF RANK has appeared in my notebook on numerous occasions and just fails to really show what he can do. This handicap mark could, though, just leave him with a chance and I would be very happy at the prices to have a second look at him. He is only a pound higher then when beating Sheisdiesel very easily over 1m 2f. He is a very strong traveller in his races, and the fact that he stays a bit further is sure to suit in this competitive handicap.
Both his wins in 2019 came here at The Curragh so, as they say, horses for courses. If Gary Carroll can settle him early I would expect to see him go very close. Solid each-way proposition here.
7.45 COOLMORE MAGNA GRECIA IRISH EBF MOORESBRIDGE STAKES (GROUP 2)
The Irish St Leger winner from last season, Search For A Song, gets her season under way here, but I think the drop back in trip might count slightly against her. The Jessica Harrington team have been in flying form since the resumption of racing and LEO DE FURY could be another winner on the board for her and Shane Foley.
This horse had some nice form last season and, even when the ground went against him last time in France, he still ran a very respectable race. He finished second to Buckhurst at The Curragh in the Royal Whip last season and that was a very good run. I think he could be quite underestimated by the market and could run very well.