The 2020 Royal Whip Stakes takes place over 10-furlongs at the Curragh on Friday 14 August. This Group 3 race has attracted seven runners, though ratings suggest one of the two market leaders should win.
Helvic Dream looks up against it after failing to win his last three starts over distances ranging from 8½ to 12 furlongs. That included being beaten in a handicap off 99 last time and he faces much tougher rivals here.
The 102-rated Rakan has been beaten in Listed Race the last twice and he also finished last on his only previous race at the Curragh. First-time cheekpieces go on but they’ll have to make a significant difference.
Sinawann won at this level last time but that race looked nowhere near as strong as this one, with the runner-up rated just 95. He’s also picked up a penalty for that success and he looks vulnerable to stronger rivals.
Degraves (105) has more potential having won a Group 3 on his last start as a 2-year-old. He beat two useful rivals that day, but it’s hard to gauge the form with those horses having had just one race between them since. The negative is he was beaten by Sinawann last season.
Numerian is also rated 105 but he’s been beaten on all four previous occasions he’s run at the Curragh. One of those runs was when well-beaten behind one of today’s re-opposing rivals and, while he’s better off at the weights, it shouldn’t be enough to turn the tables.
Armory and Leo De Fury are the main market rivals today, and it’s no surprise to see Armory installed as the early favourite. Aidan O’Brien’s 3-year-old just came out on top when they were fourth and fifth in a Group 1 last time and is 4lb better off at the weights. Those bare facts suggest he should come out on top, but they don’t tell the whole story.
Leo De Fury is a dual course and distance winner who was impressive when winning on seasonal debut. He was held up that day and showed a devastating turn-of-foot to fly past his rivals in the closing stages. He paid the price for trying to give Magical a race last time after stumbling early, fading in the closing stages behind that top-class filly, but should get his nose back in front if he reverts to hold-up tactics.
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