Horse Racing Tips: Brendan Duke’s 5 to thrive at the Curragh on Friday

Dukey's all over Friday evening's action at HQ.

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It has come to my attention that I’ve taken to moaning a lot of late. Perhaps it’s an age thing. People are inclined to become a touch ornery as they mature.

More likely my tetchiness is a result of not going racing. Tuesday was particularly tough. I could walk to the Leop. Admittedly it would need to be a sponsored walk. The lush turf of the Foxrock venue being so close and yet so far away took an emotional toll.

No excuse for grumbling though. There is a high-class two day fixture in the Curragh and Royal Ascot on the horizon. I will make a concerted effort to be more chipper.

18.40 – Irish 2000 Guineas – Vatican City

The Irish 2000 Guineas is Friday’s highlight. It’s some head-scratcher of a race. Siskin is favourite. He’s unbeaten but the form of those wins looks ordinary. Stamina is a concern too.

Similar comments apply to Lope Y Fernandez. He appears the chosen one of the Ballydoyle sextet despite his trainer mentioning in a recent stable tour that they were leaning towards a sprint campaign. In the end I came down on Vatican City.

He has arguably the finest pedigree in the business. He looked good when winning a maiden in Dundalk last October. The second has won since though that’s irrelevant in the context of assessing Friday’s race.

Realistically we’re pinning our hopes on him proving yet another top-class product of wonder mare You’resothrilling. We’re getting rewarding odds, though I will keep the stakes civilised.


17.10 Ice Cold In Alex

On to some more confident selections. Ice Cold In Alex looks worthy of support. Regular readers will know this is something of a cliff horse for me. In a former grumbling life, I would be inclined to point out that the beast never wins.

My new chipper persona would be content with the fact that he has always delivered each-way  profits. He’s definitely handicapped to win, though will need the cards to fall right. This trip is arguably short of his optimum. It should be a strongly run race, mind. He has a mixed record fresh. This is a very different start to the season, though.

I’m happy to assume that trainers will have their charges fit in June. I’m also happy that he’s the best handicapped horse in the race. Backing the best handicapped horses in handicaps should prove a profitable strategy.

17.40 Layfayette 

Finding the best handicapped horse in the three-year-old handicap in this contest tricky though. There are any number with the potential to step forward. United Front is bound to be popular. No surprise if he proves Stakes race material in time.

He does have a tricky draw to overcome though. Layfayette could prove a spot of value. The handicapper looks to have taken a chance in allotting him a mark of 84.

He was a progressive juvenile. He was probably a shade unlucky when narrowly denied in a valuable auction race in Naas last October.

There is substance to that form. He will probably want further in time but this promises to be a strongly-run race. The Naas second came on deep ground, but he has winning form on quick ground. He should be able to take up a decent position from one of the plum draws.

Hopefully he can pick them up late to win.

18.10 Chiricahua

It appears an ordinary renewal of the Gallinule Stakes but Chiricahua is of some interest. This horse obviously goes well at home and he started favourite for both maiden starts last term. He looked green in those races.

He’s a big unit who should have come forward plenty over the winter. He should also improve for a step up in trip. The dam’s side of the pedigree would give hope that better ground will elicit improvement too. He needs to step up plenty but his trainer doesn’t tend to tilt at windmills. The fact that he pitches him in at this level would encourage me to have a small tickle.

19.45 Search For A Song

The Mooresbridge Stakes is a belter. Latrobe is a solid oul stick, but the stage looks set for a battle between two top-class fillies. Fleeting must be one of the most luckless horses of recent times. She somehow failed to win a race last season, despite it not being fanciful to say she could be a dual Oaks winner. Her fourth in the mares race on British Champions Day was x-rated viewing for supporters. She’s not lightly opposed on Friday. Oppose her I will, though.

Search For A Song was a revelation in the Irish Leger. Despite running far to keenly in the early stages she had enough in reserve to hold off, an admittedly slightly undercooked, Kew Gardens.

It’s noticeable that connections employ a pacemaker in this race. That should be ideal. Search For A Song can track her through the race. It’s also possible that she will mellow with time and experience.

This filly has only had five career starts. If she proves more tractable it’s likely she will be a factor in any of the major middle distance races she contests this season.

A potentially stellar campaign can kick off with a win on Friday.

*Prices on our snazzy new bet widget are bang up to date. 

Brendan Duke’s Tips for Curragh on Friday

17.10 Ice Cold In Alex
17.40 Layfayette
18.10 Chiricahua
18.40 Irish 2000 Guineas – Vatican City
19.45 Search For A Song

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