There’s quality flat-racing on two fronts this weekend with the highlights being the Irish 2,000 Guineas on Saturday and the Irish 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, when the Curragh also stages the Group-1 Tattersalls Gold Cup.
Meanwhile, Haydock’s Saturday fixture stages the 5-furlong Group-2 Temple Stakes.
Irish 2,000 Guineas
The mile at the Curragh takes averagely two seconds longer to cover than the Newmarket equivalent, and the first thing punters should consider is whether the speedy Kingman is guaranteed to get the trip. There’s little doubt that John Gosden’s stable star has the most pace of any horse in the line-up, but do you really want to take 4/5 about a horse that looked to just get outstayed in the last 100-yards at Newmarket.
Another major consideration is Aiden O’Brien’s record of winning 5 of the last 6 renewals; and four of those where with horses who hadn’t featured in the British equivalent. O’Brien saddles 5 runners this year with his son Joseph riding War Command, however the Royal Ascot winner may not appreciate ground that looks like being on the soft side.
The other 5 renewals in the last decade where all won by different British trainers and Richard Hannon Jnr. Looks to continue that statistic by saddling Shifting Power who finished 2½ lengths behind Kingman at Newmarket.
However, the most notable thing this week has been the money for second favourite Mustajeeb who has halved in price. His trainer Dermot Weld, who seldom runs his horses above their level, has been firing the winners in all over the place in the last few weeks and his charge is proven on the prevailing soft ground. The Nayef colt is also bed to get a bit further in time, a quality which may well see him see outstay the favourite. Even if he doesn’t, the market suggests he’ll run into a place – and an each-way bet at around 11/2 looks the percentage play.
Mustajeeb each-way 11/2 or better
Irish 2,000 Guineas
An each-way bet on a Dermot Weld runner may also be the answer to the fillies classic, however the trainer has two runners, Tested and Vote Often, both of whom are owned by Khalid Abdullah. The big question for punters is which of Weld’s two runners is most fancied as the owner’s stable jockey James Doyle rides the latter, whilst long-time stable jockey Pat Smullen rides the undefeated Tested. Smullen has also ridden both of Weld’s lat two winners of the race and, being a Selkirk filly, may prefer the ground. 8/1 looks fair value.
Tested each-way 8/1 or better
Tattersalls Gold Cup
Aiden O’Brien’s Magician is odds on to win this group-1 race and maintain his perfect 3/3 record at the Curragh. He’s shown the speed to win over a mile here and the stamina to win at 10-furlongs whilst he’s also won on ground ranging from heavy to firm. Second favourite Noble Mission has been in good form winning at Sandown and Chester this year – but will probably need a wand to defeat the favourite.
Magician 8/11 or better
The ground at Haydock was officially good on Friday but, with plenty of rain forecast on Saturday, it may well turn soft by the time of this 5-furlong group-2 contest. In the hope that it does, take an early price (4/1 or better) about Pearl Secret who has won every time he’s encountered cut in the ground. Trainer David Barron has made no secret of how highly regards this horse, and he’s taken to get the better of likely favourite Hot Streak despite conceding Kevin Ryan’s charge 8lb.
Pearl Secret each-way 4/1 or better
Football – Champions League Final
There’s no doubt that in Christiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale Real Madrid have the necessary quality to rip apart any team on any given day, and Real’s 5-0 defeat of Athletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Copa del Ray is certainly the reason why they’re only around even-money to win in 90-minutes here. However, Athletico got the better of Real in the league with a 1-0 victory and a 2-2 draw. Athletico are likely to try and snub out Real’s early onslaught and, if doing so, will undoubtedly start to impose themselves on the nine-time winners. Athletico are 100-30 to win in 90-minutes, but the draw looks better value at 5/2, whilst fancy prices about either side winning on penalties could be worth taking.