Horse Racing Tips: Frank Hickey’s best antepost bets at the Curragh on Saturday

It's an Irish Classic weekend and Frank has had an early look at 2,000 Guineas day on Saturday.



*Odds now quoted on the widget are post declaration time on Thursday. 

14:15 – The Entertainer

The Entertainer is a 110,000 guineas colt by Caravaggio, who has had 13 individual runners so far and six winners. He was quite weak on his debut at Navan over 5.5f but I was really taken with the manner of his win.

He travelled nicely and was brave to go through a narrow gap to put the race to bed. He shaped there like 6f will suit better and he looks a nice horse.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on Cadamosto. He was very impressive on his debut at Dundalk but was a non-runner at Naas at the weekend due to soft ground. The forecast is not ideal for him at the moment.


14:45 – Sonaiyla

Sonaiyla was progressive last season and goes well fresh. She won at listed level last season on her reappearance and was only beaten a neck by Glen Shiel here in the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes getting 3lbs. (She will be getting 5lbs off Glen Shiel here).

She was only beaten a length behind Glass Slippers in the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes here on Champions Weekend and Glass Slippers went on to be beaten a neck in the Abbaye and win the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint.

Sonaiyla finished the season with a disappointing run in the Champions Sprint at Ascot but her Curragh record is five starts, two wins (maiden & handicap off 102), a second (in a G3) and two thirds (handicap and G1).

The soft ground is no issue and Paddy Twomey is in fair form with two winners from his last six runners (25 per cent strike rate for the last five seasons in Ireland). He’s a top-class trainer.




15:20 – Mac Swiney and Van Gogh

Aidan O’Brien hasn’t won the Irish 2,000 Guineas since Churchill in 2017, but the ground is going to be a huge factor. If it is bordering on heavy, it won’t suit Lucky Vega, La Barrosa or Thunder Moon.

Wembley and Battleground have to put disappointing runs in the Newmarket Guineas behind them. So does Van Gogh but he still ran respectably in eighth, beaten seven lengths on ground that would have been far too lively for him.

He won the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint Cloud on heavy ground to end last season and the rain is a massive positive for him, he’s also a fair price.

Mac Swiney was obviously disappointing on his reappearance at Leopardstown in the Derrinstown Stud Stakes but you can definitely suggest he is ground dependent, looking at his form. On soft or worse, he was won the Group 2 Futurity Stakes here over 7f and he won the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster, with disappointing efforts on good ground or faster. Were he to take his place, he looks worth a go.

I’d split my stakes between the two, as you have a decent chance of one of them winning if the weather forecast proves accurate.

14:55 – Thundering Nights (non runner / not declared)

There are only eight runners at this stage, so only two places on offer. Therefore, it’s worth looking for a win-only bet. Champers Elysees is the one to beat but she has a 3lb penalty for her Group 1 on Champions Weekend at the Leop.

I might just take her on with Thundering Nights, who ran a cracker when beaten just half a length by Broome in the Group 3 Alleged Stakes here over 10f last month. She looked to get outstayed that day.

She is versatile with regards to the trip and the way she travelled in the Alleged Stakes, dropping to a mile will not inconvenience her and she will handle the ground also. She beat Albigna in a 9f Group 3 here last August on soft ground too.

Frank Hickey’s best bets at Curragh on Saturday:

14:15 – The Entertainer
14:45 – Sonaiyla
15:20 – Mac Swiney and Van Gogh
14:55 – Thundering Nights (not declared)


The latest racing odds are on now

The Paddy Power Guide To Responsible Gambling – Everything You Need To Know

What do you think?