With Sunday’s UK racing action consisting of three rather meagre summer jumps meetings, all eyes will be on the Curragh, which stages the second Irish classic of the season – the 1000 Guineas.
The vast majority of this afternoon’s supporting races have the vibe of being stuck in the wrong tent at Glastonbury, and with that in mind, it looks worth siding with Early Call to return to form in the second race (14:20).
He ran well to finish fourth in first-time blinkers at Navan last week, and dropped 1lb for that by the assessor, he arrives here on a particularly attractive mark. With blinkers once again fitted, and a tongue-strap added for good measure, it would be no surprise to see him go close under his 5lb claimer.
The first of two Group 1 contests comes at 15:50 with the Tattersalls Gold Cup, which is about as prestigious as the Scottish FA Cup. Indeed, for every Celtic there’s an Edinburgh City, and Aidan O’Brien is responsible for the two main protagonists in the five-runner field.
The one who sets a strong standard on Timeform ratings, though, is Magical. She signed off last term with a stellar run to get within three quarters of a length of the magnificent Enable at the Breeders’ Cup last November, and she’s built on that with two solid wins in pattern company so far this season, most recently when winning a Group 2 over C&D in comfortable fashion 20 days ago.
This race feels like the logical next step for Magical, and she’s a strong fancy to pick up a second career Group 1 success, in a race which is likely to be dominated by Ballydoyle.
The 1000 Guineas follows thirty-five minutes later at 16:25, a race in which Hermosa is aiming to seal a classic double having won the English equivalent at Newmarket at the beginning of the month.
Although she was almost certainly more of a Divock Origi than a Mohamed Salah in the eyes of her gaffer Aidan O’Brien going into the race, there was no fluke about the result, and she looks a good proposition at around the 5/2 mark to confirm that form with a host of rivals who re-oppose from HQ.
The reappearing Pretty Pollyanna would be a big threat if fully tuned up for this for the Michael Bell team, though sprinting could prove to be her game this season, meaning that Qabala looks likely to be the one to chase the selection home. Third at Newmarket last time, she still looks open to plenty of improvement after three starts to date.
The card is completed by a 12-runner maiden (18:00), where we fancy Hazran to strike for the Mick Halford team.
Out of Hazaraba, who is a half-sister to the 2016 Derby winner Harzand, Hazran has plenty of potential judged on his pedigree, and although it’s unlikely that he’ll ever prove to be a high-class performer himself, he’s made a solid start to his career in two starts so far, improving for the step up to ten furlongs when finishing a solid second at Naas last month.
He was only beaten by a useful sort that day, and gave the firm impression that he wouldn’t be long in winning a similar event himself in the future; he’s fancied to despatch of fellow improve Guinevere and open his account at the third attempt.