Horse racing tips: James Shortt’s best Sunday selections for the Curragh

James has picked six to score on 1000 Guineas day


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

13:40 – Olivia Maralda

Irish 1000 Guineas day at the Curragh gets underway with a six-furlong fillies maiden where OLIVIA MARALDA is my selection in what looks an open affair. Michael O’Callaghan has some sharp juveniles this season with both Crispy Cat and Harry Time doing well for the team having secured debut victories. This daughter of Kodiac was an expensive purchase for Amo Racing and partners at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up sale last month and ticks several boxes on her racecourse debut.

Her pedigree suggests she’ll appreciate both the ground and trip and will hopefully be forward and know her job on debut. She’s a half-sister to a couple of sprint winners in both King Of Hearts and Evil Spell and any market support would be a positive. Elsewhere, Tanaiyla runs for an out of form Dermot Weld, while Finsceal Go Deo should improve for Jim Bolger, with both Never Ending Story and Zarinsk perhaps needing a little further trip wise down the line for Aidan O’Brien and Ger Lyons.


14:40 – State Of Rest (NAP)

Decorated Knight was the last British raider to win the Tattersalls Gold Cup in 2017 and it’s nice to see both William Haggas and John Gosden supporting the Group 1 this year. Alenquer represents a very much in form Haggas team with the son of Adlerflug doing battle with Lord North again having got the better of the Clarehaven runner in the Winter Derby at Lingfield. Both head to the Curragh for a valuable prize after International runs in separate races on Dubai World Cup day at Meydan. 

Alenquer finished an excellent sixth in the Sheema Classic with Lord North gamely dead heating in the Dubai Turf. However, STATE OF REST gets my vote following a cracking seasonal reappearance in the Prix Ganay earlier this month. That was some victory having only raced three-times last season with International victories in both the Saratoga Derby and Cox Plate. He looks an ever-improving star, and this race looks made for him to progress further for the Joseph O’Brien team.

15:10 – Twilight Spinner (NB)

TWILIGHT SPINNER is another progressive runner this Sunday for Joseph O’Brien having moved from David O’Meara’s last summer and can secure victory in the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes. The Piltown team have patiently found the key to this filly and believe she’s capable of stepping up to a mile following her recent success in the Athasi Stakes here earlier this month. She’ll appreciate the going conditions with her style of racing suggesting she’ll have no issues with the extra-furlong.

Pearls Galore is the obvious danger for Paddy Twomey with her trainer previously expressing some high expectations for his star mare this season. She returned in good fashion with victory in the Heritage Stakes last month and has some excellent Group 1 form in the book from last season. She’ll race forward under a very much inform Billy Lee, but will she have enough in the closing stages to hold a late challenge from Shane Crosse and Twilight Spinner. 



15:45 – Tuesday

Aidan O’Brien has dominated the Irish 1000 Guineas since 1997 and is looking for a remarkable 11th career victory and a fourth consecutive win following victories with Hermosa, Peaceful and Empress Josephine over the past three-years. Ryan Moore is back in the saddle on TUESDAY with this filly setting the standard following an excellent third to Cachet under Frankie Dettori in the English equivalent earlier this month.

The sister to Minding is bound to improve further for that effort with Cachet upholding the form with a solid second in the French Guineas last weekend. Ryan Moore will keep this simply and find a nice lead into the race, with stable-mate History looking a big danger following her comeback win at Leopardstown. Homeless Songs was ahead of Agartha and Panama Red in Foxrock and are other leading home challengers with British raiders Mise En Scene and Purplepay also fighting for a place.

16:20 – Big Gossey (EW)

BIG GOSSEY is somewhat of a cliff horse for me considering I know the owners who live in my childhood suburb of Cabra West in Dublin. This horse runs under the license of Charles O’Brien, but it’s work-rider Gary O’Brien (not of Racing TV fame) who does all the work on the son of Gutaifan for himself and his family as owners of this five-year-old. This is only the second time I’ve tipped him up in this blog and that’s because he’s got a genuine each-way chance in this valuable six-furlong handicap.

Having spoken to connections last weekend, they’ve decided to run here instead of a possible run over a longer trip on the Friday card just passed. I think that was a good decision because his horse ticks plenty of boxes and has a solid each-way chance here of securing another win at HQ. He won here off 87 over course and distance last season, he has a good draw, breaks well and once again runs off 90 with Danny Sheehy taking off 3lbs following his good third place run at Naas last month.

17:20 – Selador

Ark looks the filly to beat in the closing 1-mile 2-furlong maiden at the Curragh for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore having had the benefit of two-runs already this season. The use of first-time blinkers might give her the extra edge to get over the line and break her maiden, but I’m happy to take her on with SELADOR. The daughter of Dark Angel was recently taken out of the Yeats Stakes at Navan with a temperature and holds an entry in the Group 3 Munster Oaks next month.

She makes her debut on turf in this finale having finished a good second behind Lily Pond on debut at Dundalk back in April. She learned plenty on that occasion and should be spot on to run well here with her pedigree suggesting she’ll appreciate going conditions. Elsewhere, Engagement Ring runs on debut for Aidan O’Brien, but Fennela might be another with a solid chance and should improve from her debut fifth behind Emily Dickinson at Naas for Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley.  

James Shortt’s best bets:

13:40 – Olivia Maralda
14:40 – State Of Rest
15:10 – Twilight Spinner
15:45 – Tuesday
16:20 – Big Gossey
17:20 – Selador

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change


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