Paul Jacobs: Ickworth looks primed for winning return at the Curragh

Our top tipster casts a beady eye over day two of the Curragh Festival on Friday.

Paul Jacobs


I was astounded to find out that Aidan O’Brien has only taken home the gold medal a mere four times in the Pretty Polly Stakes with Jim Bolger top of the pile with five victories.

But the master of Ballydoyle should hit the bullseye and draw level on Friday night with the market leader PINK DOGSWOOD in the Grade One featureat 19.25.

I think she was the best filly by some way in the Investec Oaks at Epsom, but the simple fact of the matter was that RL Moore was given a race-riding lesson by a certain L Dettori despite the last named being on a far inferior filly, Anapurna.

Given plenty of time to get over that effort, I suspect we will see a big step forward here from this daughter of Camelot and I will be amazed if she is not up to beating the likes of Wild Illusion and Worth Waiting.


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SOUTHERN FRANCE running in the Hardwicke Stakes was about as baffling a big race option as Mr O’Brien has made down through the years. This giant specimen returns to a more suitable 1m 6f for the Group Two Curragh Cup at 15.45.

His close up second to Stradivarius in the Yorkshire Cup is by far the best form on show here and having been eased some way from home by Moore at the Royal meet when he predictably couldn’t quicken, compensation awaits here at the main expense of Twilight Payment and last year’s Irish Derby hero Latrobe.

Aidan O’Brien should have a good line to Peace Charter for the Group Two Airlie Stud Stakes at 16.15 with his Etoile having beaten the Ger Lyons’ filly narrowly last time out. However, his number one entry here, Precious Moments, has plenty to find on the book and preference is for ICKWORTH, an 11/1 shot for last week’s Queen Mary at Royal Ascot before rearing up and unseating Billy Lee at the gates.

She was hugely impressive when landing a Listed contest at the Curragh last month and the more the ground dries out the better her chance of returning to winning ways here.

However, the best value bet on the card could come in the form of the filly INNAMORARE in the 7f  Premier Handicap at 16.50.

She put up a fine display to finish second at the track over a mile last time out, but is just as effective over this intermediate trip. That was only the third time that the underrated Chris Hayes has partnered her which included a victory last August, and she looks a value each-way play against the likely favourite and top weight, Surrounding.

Finally, have a second look at AGENT ZIGZAG in the finale at 18.25. The son of Shamardal simply hasn’t seen out 1m 4f plus on his last two outings and this step down in trip in a fast-run race looks just what the doctor ordered.

*Prices correct at time of publishing 

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