There is every reason to believe that WINTER could take another huge step forward in Sunday’s Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas and complete the double after bolting up at Newmarket.
Some of my fellow pundits were under the impression that stable mate Rhododendron would have beaten her that afternoon granted a clear run, but I am having absolutely none of that.
The simple fact is that whereas Winter had the tactical speed to win over the Rowley Mile, ‘Rhod’ simply didn’t. That’s why she is a solid favourite to land the Epsom Oaks next month and doesn’t re-oppose her stablemate here.
The other significant news coming out of the Ballydoyle camp is that Winter worked brilliantly last week and even at a shade of odds-on she looks a solid wager.
If there is to be a turn up then Aneen is the most likely source. She has taken time to come to herself, but has reportedly bloomed in the last fortnight and is the least exposed entry in the eight-runner field.
Aidan O’Brien has farmed the Tattersalls Gold Cup this century with six wins in the last 14 renewals, yet his last success in this Group One event came back in 2012, courtesy of the brilliant So You Think.
Deauville is probably the right favourite, but I thought he was flattered by his all-the-way success in the Huxley Stakes at Chester and I suspect he will not be handed this valuable contest on a plate.
Stablemate Somehow wasn’t suited by the dig in the ground in last week’s Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. She looked uncomfortable on it going down to the start, and better can be expected here, but MOONLIGHT MAGIC looks the better value.
He looked far from fully wound up when second to Minded in the Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas at the beginning of the month.
I expect Kevin Manning will have this son of Cape Cross right on the coat tails of the market leader to keep the likely front runner honest before outstaying him on the run to the line.
For betting purposes, the handicaps on the second half of the card make for interesting reading and I expect the veteran HASANOUR to roll back the years in the valuable 1m event at 5.30pm.
Three times a course and distance winner, the seven-year-old is set to race off his lowest handicap mark (92) for two years and looks ripe for an each-way play at double figure odds.
He showed more than enough at Naas last time out to suggest his turn is close at hand and the drying ground is hugely in his favour. Mizaah and Reckless Endeavour are just two of the many dangers in the 21-runner field.
BROKOPONDO is the epitome of consistency and that’s why the handicapper has been unable to show him any mercy, yet he remains unexposed at two miles and should go close in the 4.30pm.
His one run at the lung-bursting trip came last year at Dundalk when he managed to force a dead heat for third behind Rashaan.
Based on his last two performances over 1m 4f, the son of Bushranger looks ready for a second shot at 16 furlongs and can see off dual purpose players Modem and Shadagann.
Red for Danger
I was praying that my Epsom Oaks fancy Rain Goddess wasn’t declared for the Gallinule Stakes at 2.50pm and my wishes have been answered.
Homesman was given an inspired ride by Ana O’Brien to win his maiden at Limerick and was far from disgraced behind the potentially smart Irishcorrespondent at the track a fortnight ago.
Ryan Moore rides him in preference to Finn McCool (didn’t look to have the best attitude at Navan last time out), but I think he will have his work cut out to beat RED LABEL.
I loved the way this son of Dubawi went about his business