BIG RACE PREVIEWS
Irish 2000 Guineas Preview 2017
This race has been won over the years by top-class horses such as KINGMAN, GLENEAGLES, MASTERCRAFTSMAN, DUBAWI and many more. This year will highlighted from Ballydoyle with the high-class CHURCHILL, who bids to enhance his reputation as the market leader for the Investec Derby, having destroyed a good field in the English 2000 Guineas a few weeks ago. Let’s preview this weekends Irish classic on day one of the two day Curragh Festival meeting.
A pretty poor renewal to be honest, as only six have been declared to line-up, which is a little disappointing in a race that has produced some quality races over the years. CHURCHILL heads the market at very short odds and he’s coming into the contest to extend his winning sequence to seven victories. He’s held in the highest regard by connections and the way RYAN MOORE has talked up this horse is worth noting, he has never talked about a horse with such confidence and it has proved decisively on as many starts with dominating performances. CHURCHILL is now rated 122, which leaves him officially 4lbs clear of the field and I do feel he will win the Investec Derby this season. CHURCHILL looks every inch of a proper top-class racehorse because he’s won three consecutive Group 1’s, whereas the rest of the field haven’t achieved anything close to him to date and he has the beating of stable companion LANCASTER BOMBER on multiple occasions they have met before. CHURCHILL has won twice over C&D, having won the National stakes in September, destroying the high-class MEHMAS by four lengths and he also won a Group 2 easily the time before that. I could sit here talking about CHURCHILL all day, because on all form, this is his race to lose and he wouldn’t need to even up to his best to win this today, against unknown quality and exposed types. CHURCHILL is such poor odds, but I find hard to get him beaten here, and he should well complete the 2000 Guineas double here, before going onto to win the Investec Derby at even shorter odds than he currently is. I would personally take the odds on him for the Investec Derby immediately if you haven’t already done so.
SPIRIT OF VALOR will most likely be used as a pacemaker for the two others from Ballydoyle, and his odds completely put me off here. Don’t get me wrong, he has some good form to his name but he will need a lot more cut in the ground and I find it hard for him to reverse 2000 Guineas form with CHURCHILL even if he runs up to his best here. However, he might be able to finish top-three if a couple of others run well below-par.
LANCASTER BOMBER hardly ever runs a bad race and has some top-class form to his name including, when finishing second in the Group 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf back in November. However, he has seen the back-end of CHURCHILL on all four previous clashes when they have met, and a similar role looks likely here, he’s a high-class horse without a doubt, but I can’t have him today to reverse form with the favourite, and he is a horse who has always looked vulnerable to something with a bit more class. Also to note, he was beaten fair and square by THUNDER SNOW in a group 2 at MEYDAN two starts ago.
IRISHCORRESPONDENT is two from two, and is second favourite here having beat a decent field last time out over C&D in good style. Course form is vital here and connections must hold him in high regard to even think about taking on CHURCHILL here. He could be anything as he’s won both starts impressively, showing a good turn of foot having travelled strongly throughout on both occasions. These connections can never be dismissed on the big occasions and SHANE FOLEY takes the ride (ridden him to both victories). This is a big step-up in class against better opposition, but he could easily take another step forward as the least exposed horse in the race and has yet to put a thing wrong on a racecourse. lRISHCORRESPONDENT could be the danger to CHURCHILL here if that one fails to fire for some unknown reason.
GLASTONBURY SONG is two from three, and hails from a yard who I think are one of the best in Ireland and I have been following GER LYONS and COLIN KEANE for the last couple of seasons. His only defeat came in a Listed contest over 1m at LEOPARDSTOWN, where he didn’t run well at all, but his two other victories including last time out were quite impressive, the way he despatched a decent Ballydoyle yardstick at DUNDALK over 1m, comfortably winning by two lengths under hands and heels. My main worry was his comprehensive defeat two starts ago and he’s 17lbs below CHURCHILL on all form. He might run very well for powerful connections, but it would take a major step-up for him to trouble the favourite here.
THUNDER SNOW has been very smart for Godolphin and was a close-up fourth behind CHURCHILL in the Dewhurst back in October when also behind LANCASTER BOMBER. However, this horse has improved massively since and completed a hat-trick of Group race wins, including when landing the International at SAINT-CLOUD over 6f by an impressive five lengths before winning the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas on the dirt at MEYDAN, winning that one by five lengths. THUNDER SNOW completed the hat-trick when gamely landing the UAE DERBY group 2 over 1m1f, reversing previous form with LANCASTER BOMBER and SPIRIT OF VALOR in the process. He went for the Kentucky Derby last time out with a good chance but missed the break completely and something went amiss as he tried to buckle the rider off straight away, he was pulled up early because his chance was already blown and that would have done him good for this race here, because he now comes here fresh and connections seem bullish of him running a big race here. THUNDER SNOW has developed into a top-class Group 1 horse and he could well bridge the Gap on his two lengths fourth behind CHURCHILL when they previously met over 7f. Top-class rider CRISTOPHE SOUMILLON rides again (three wins from four on the horse) and his long journey from France could well be worth while on THUNDER SNOW, who has a solid each-way chance of making amends for last times failure.
I feel it would be ridiculous to select an odds-on favourite despite the fact CHURCHILL should really hose up as he looks the Derby winner in waiting and is coming here on the back of three dominating Group 1 victories and connections/rider really believe this horse is the real deal. I do feel THUNDER SNOW can go very well here, even though Ballydoyle have scared away most of the opposition, Godolphin still go for glory here with their high-class horse, who is ridden by one of the best jockeys in the world Cristophe Soumillon, THUNDER SNOW is fresh after his blip in the Kentucky Derby and connections wouldn’t have supplemented him here unless thought capable of a bold show. I am going to be playing an each-way bet, as I think he is the value in the race. Good luck and enjoy some top-class racing this weekend. I’ll be back with the Irish 1000 Guineas Preview tomorrow.
THUNDER SNOW – 0.5pts e/w (12/1) with BET365
Irish 1000 Guineas Preview 2017
A pretty good renewal of this year’s contest, and as expected Aidan Obrien has four entered which includes, leading market favourite WINTER, who was impressive when landing the English 1000 Guineas. Let’s go into detail on the favourite and contenders.
WINTER justified market support when landing the English 1000 Guineas and she won by two lengths, she stayed on very strongly under Wayne Lordon, who has yet to miss a ride on her. However, this track is completely different and she looks more of a stayer than a speed horse despite the fact she has yet to finish out of the frame in all starts. She is clearly a high-class horse but I can’t be having her at such short-odds against unexposed types and a potential improver. I think she would have finished second in the English Guineas if Ryan Moore didn’t get the hot favourite RHODODENDRON in to some trouble. So she is worth avoiding for me here.
HYDRANGEA has beaten WINTER before and the form was reversed at Newmarket, where this one ran poorly. She is a good sort and has run some good races in defeat, twice runner-up at this venue over C&D behind RHODODENDRON and INTRICATELY, beaten a head, short head both times. HYDRANGEA acts well at this venue and could easily bounce back with an each-way chance, but that latest effort was off putting and I think I may skip this one’s chance this weekend.
INTRICATELY beat a few of these in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud over C&D, and I don’t think that was a fluke, as she kept on well all the way to the line and she is a tough horse for the Obriens. She has ran well in defeat in some other quality races, placing behind RHODODENDRON. But she’s coming here on the back of a poor effort in the English version and is starting look exposed if I’m honest. Her earlier form would give her a massive each-way chance, but she looks up against it today.
REHANA represents Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen, she is very consistent and is a very tough horse, the way she battles and pace she has shown throughout her races. She has finished behind a few of these before (not beaten that far) before landing a competitive Group 3 at NAAS, making all the running and staying on strongly to win by a comfortable two lengths. She has usually been held-up in her races where she was unable to land a blow at Group level but positive tactics worked a treat last time and I suspect that Pat Smullen will try to run the finish out of the opposition. She has a cracking each-way chance here but again might prove vulnerable to something quicker. Positive note is that connections seem confident on her chances.
ASKING hasn’t shown enough form for me to even think about her having a chance and she is the outsider of the field with plenty of reasons.
BEAN FEASA is inconsistent and despite her winning a Group 3 impressively last time, she was beaten miles by REHANA when they previously met and she was beaten a long way on both starts at this course. Her worst performances have come at this venue, which completely puts me off.
ROLY POLY can’t be dismissed here for the Ballydoyle stable, she once looked top-class and has winning form at this venue and wasn’t that far behind the likes of CARAVAGGIO and DABAN. She can race lazily but she has a lot of class, and finished second in a Group 1 at Newmarket behind a stablemate. Her form would give her obvious claims today and she has finished better than the finishing positions have suggested on her last three starts. She has been highly tried and finished down the field in the Breeders Cup turf before given a strange ride when seventh in a Group 3 at Newmarket and was only beaten three lengths at DEAUVILLE last time in the French 1000 Guineas. She wouldn’t be running here unless thought capable of making her presence felt and she has definite each-way claims I would imagine.
ANEEN is the least exposed, she made an encouraging debut when a strong finishing 4th of 18 on her debut before opening her account in good style in a 25 runner maiden. She hails from a yard with target these contests with some good horses and this one is related some high-class types who have won at the top level. She remains unknown on her ability but she wouldn’t be here unless thought capable of a bold show in a tough contest. She showed a good turn of foot last time out and any kind of improvement would obviously give her a major each-way chance, and she has been well supported in the market all week.
I could easily give the whole field some sort of chance as this is a very competitive renewal, but I’m going for two selections to trouble the favourite. Firstly, REHANA who looks as though she has improved a lot this year with an impressive win last time out and if positive tactics are applied again here, she could be very hard to peg back under a positive Pat Smullen ride. Secondly, ANEEN is very unexposed and was unlucky on debut having met trouble in running before storming home, she made amends next time destroying 24 runners and has purposely been saved for the race today. Connections expect her to go well and she could reward us some hefty returns if she is good as the stable think she is. I like her chances a lot.
REHANA – 1pt win (5/1) with BET365
ANEEN – 0.5pts e/w (10/1) with BET365