Brendan Duke: Angel can wing it to victory at HQ this Classic weekend

El Duke runs the rule over the Classic contenders but is very sweet on Victory Angel (2.55pm) on Sunday...

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My six-day racing odyssey won’t inspire poetry. Fiction would be the only authentic way to report it. Only went Sunday to Wednesday. Must be getting old. It was from the comfort of my couch that I watched Chacun Pour Soi. What a sight he is. He’s obviously fragile. If connections can keep him sound, NH racing looks to have a new star on the horizon.

Tomorrow was supposed to see the coronation of a new flat king. Sadly, Too Darn Hot will stay in his box for the 2000 Guineas. This has emboldened plenty of other trainers to take a stab at the race. It’s has also encouraged Paddy to offer five places. 19 runners means the draw could play a significant role. The stalls are in the middle of the track. Hopefully this will encourage an arrowhead formation, and lessen the draw’s impact. The obvious pace seems to be concentrated in the middle to high stalls.

Madhmoon would be my pick of those towards the head of the market. He looked a serious tool last term. The form of his wins wasn’t without substance either. His comeback need forgiving. However, the soft ground was almost certainly against him. The progeny of Dawn Approach invariably prefer quick conditions. He’s also a particularly deep-girthed horse. As the trainer was keen to stress how much work the horse had done in the build up to that Leopardstown defeat, I may be clutching at straws on the fitness angle. I do expect significant improvement. The price is quite tight, though he should go close.


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With the extra places, and the strong possibility of a boilover, it makes sense to have something at a double figure price on side. Momkin doesn’t help himself. His headstrong tendencies leave him vulnerable in the latter stages. That’s what happened in the Craven.

He traveled all over the field that day, but had used up too much petrol. Saturday’s big field promises cover, and a strong gallop to run at. That should be just the ticket for Roger Charlton’s charge. I don’t think it fanciful to see him turn the tables on Skardu. He looks a solid each-way¬† play at the prices.

Sunday’s 1000 Guineas (3.35pm) has also attracted a sizeable field. My strategy on the race is a dutch of father and son. Worked for the Bruegels. Fairyland, and Iridessa are both around 7/1. We’re getting 3/1 coupled, and that looks very fair.

Iridessa showed plenty on comeback at Leopardstown. She hadn’t come in her coat that day. The trip and ground weren’t ideal either. That run should put her spot on for Sunday. Her proven form over the tricky Rowley Mile, is a big help. She’s probably more of an Oaks filly, but I’m confident of a bold show here.


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Fairyland is also proven at the course. She hasn’t had a run this season. That is a worry. Aidan O’Brien doesn’t always have his fillies fully revved for this race. It will probably be different with Fairyland though. Aidan doesn’t miss much. He will be conscious that her physical, and mental, precocity will be most advantaged early in the season. Her stamina isn’t assured, but her lamb like temperament should mean she relaxes in the race, and gives herself every chance of seeing out the trip.

The Longholes Handicap (2.55 pm) also offers a punting proposition. Victory Angel was a close fourth in this race last year. He returns this term off a 6lb lower mark. He has also moved from Roger Varian to Robert Cowell. His new trainer seems to have a happy knack with sprinters, and it would be no surprise if he got the Angel back to his best. The horse also has a good record fresh, and on this course. He would look worth a bet at anything around 8/1.

*Prices correct at time of publication but are fluid and subject to change

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What do you think?