I’LL be hoping the sun shines bright over Berkshire on Sunday as I’m doing a Royal Ascot photoshoot!
There’ll be an update on that next week, but first there’s some classy action to get stuck into this weekend both in England and Ireland.
The Curragh hosts their Irish 2,000 Guineas card this afternoon and it’s a fascinating clash between Too Darn Hot and Magna Grecia.
The interesting thing about John Gosden’s contender is that he’s being turned around quite quickly.
Of course, Gosden wouldn’t send him if he didn’t think he was in top condition but it’s still a speedy turnaround – that said, the drop back to a mile will probably suit.
Magna Grecia was a tough winner of the English Guineas and the faster they go the better.
He’s obviously talented and has a big chance, but the one I quite like is Phoenix Of Spain.
All through last year I thought he would make a better three-year-old as he’s a massive, strong horse.
I’m excited to see him this season and he certainly has the form to trouble the principals as he was only just beaten by Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity and wasn’t beaten all that far by Too Darn Hot in the Champagne.
He hasn’t run yet this term but provided he’s fit enough, is a very interesting runner.
The Group 2 Greenlands Stakes could go to Britain as I think Richard Fahey’s Mr Lupton could put up a strong show.
He finished last season on a high and has been pretty consistent throughout his career.
Urban Beat could also run a big race. He won a shade cosily last time and the step back to 6f will suit him.
The other Group 2 on the card, the Landwades Stud Stakes, also has a strong British challenge headed by Willie Haggas’ One Master.
She was running pretty consistently in Group races last season and ended up winning the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp before bombing out a bit in the States and then Hong Kong.
You can put a line through those runs as she’d had a hard season and it’s interesting that Doyle chooses her over Beshaayir.
The big Irish contender is I Can Fly, but she needs to improve on what she’s done so far this season and perhaps Red Tea can provide more of a challenge for the home team.
She bolted up at the Curragh last time and has clearly benefited from the switch to Joseph O’Brien. She has every right to be stepping up to Group level and should run well.
Back in Britain, Goodwood hosts a really interesting card. I’m delighted to have recently become an ambassador for them as it’s a track I love and it has a great atmosphere. I’m looking forward to getting more involved with them throughout the rest of the season, but first up is today’s meeting.
There are two Listed races and in the opening contest it’s interesting to see blinkers put on Extra Elusive.
Roger Charlton doesn’t usually use headgear on his horses and I would have thought they’d have rather gone for a hood as he looks like a bit of a keen-goer, though connections obviously think otherwise.
When he ran third in the Gordon Richards he finished behind some very good horses and it could just be that’s his level – but I think he’s capable of better.
Elarqam and Willie John both have big reputations but need to step forward on what they did last time.
Vintager is the likely favourite and probably the one to beat as he is a classy performer and this is his level.
In the 3.40 I reckon Rock Eagle could be up to the task. He’s a horse I absolutely loved last year and I tried very hard to get him to come to Ditcheat!
He has every right to be starting at this level now and could well turn into a Group horse.
We’ll see more of him this year and Ralph Beckett’s horses are running really well, so hopefully he’ll produce a nice run.
It’s obviously competitive but I’m not sure quick ground over just short of 1m4f will suit Danehill Kodiac, while Barsanti is a good horse on his day but hasn’t shown his form for a while.
Over at Haydock, it will take a good one to beat Calyx in the Sandy Lane.
He seemed to find things quite easy returning from a layoff last time and looked very relaxed during the race.
I think he has a lot of speed and should be too good for Hello Youmzain.
The Temple is a seriously interesting race and I’m really looking forward to it.
Battaash is the one they have to beat on his best form. He’s a pocket rocket and won this race last year, though not by far.
His team is reported to have him in a better place this year than last and he should run a big race.
Mabs Cross is a little superstar who was really tough when winning the Palace House on her return.
She’s much more laid back than the favourite and is an easier ride.
Kachy has been phenomenal on the all-weather over the winter but tends to favour going left-handed round a bend. He ran well in this last year, though, and the ground will suit.
It will be interesting to see what he can do as he’s been seriously impressive on synthetics recently.
In the last I ride Red Force One.
There are only four runners but you could make a case for all of them, so it won’t be easy.
He won his first start on the flat and ran very well at Kempton last time.
I’m convinced he needs to go left-handed but he’s in really good form and could run very well.
If he steps forward again then he could be the one.
At York, Enbihaar should be able to put up a good performance after she won on reappearance at Goodwood.
She’s still very unexposed and has room to improve. I think she could make a really smart filly.
Roger Varian’s Pilaster finished third last time out and could come on for that. Both she and Maid Up can be given chances but they’ll have to step forward to beat the favourite.
On Sunday, Magical looks the obvious one to beat in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
She’s a very talented filly who’s only been out of the first four once.
As she’s grown older she seems to have got better and the fact she gets a 3lb weight allowance mean that she’s a near-certainty.
In the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Hermosa will probably be favourite. She won the Guineas over here in good style but wasn’t fancied then and clearly showed more there than she did at home.
Roger Varian’s Qabala didn’t have the smoothest of runs in the same race at Newmarket but flew home after getting a gap.
It wouldn’t surprise to see David Egan ride her a little closer to the pace.
She’s very talented and I think she could be the one.
Source: Read Full Article