A 10/1 place for Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) last week. What’s our racing man backing this weekend?
14:45 Curragh | Channel 4
This race sees a rare sight. The great, in fact the legendary, Sole Power racing in Ireland. It’s been just under five years since the Irish trained Sole Power ran in his homeland, and for good measure he’s running over further than ideal too.
I love Sole Power. Last season he was sensational and he is without doubt one of my favourite sprinters of all time. However, he is a five furlong specialist. He has never won over six furlongs, and granted he has run some tremendous races in defeat, I cannot back him on Saturday.
So who wins? Gordon Lord Byron is another old favourite and this globe trotting veteran has taken part in some of the best sprint races around the world. Ground conditions, distance, continent, nothing seems to matter much to this guy but I’m not sure if he will add to his 11 career victories at the weekend.
In this race I’m taking a chance on the Dermot Weld trained Mustajeeb. He won the Jeresey Stakes last season at Royal Ascot and spent the rest of the year running over a mile, ending the season down the field in the Breeders Cup Mile. He is a massively progressive horse and I expect him to continue to improve as a four year old.
He won first time out last season, so his ability to go well fresh is a big plus. The conditions of the race mean that he is receiving 6 lbs from Sole Power and 3 lbs from Gordon Lord Byron and to me this makes him the horse to beat.
You don’t win the Jersey Stakes without having a lot of pace and he led two furlongs out that day. He never settled properly over a mile in America and I don’t see six furlongs being a problem to him. If he wins well his future could lie in sprinting but he remains a versatile horse of immense potential.
15:20 Curragh | Channel 4
The first Classic of the Irish season is upon us and the winner of the Newmarket version Gleneagles is the short priced favourite to complete the 2000 Guineas double. It’s impossible not to have been impressed with his victory three weeks ago and I fully expect him to confirm that form here.
He raced six times as a two year old and he improved every time he seen a racecourse. He’s won after a break of three weeks in the past and he strikes me as a real hardy type.
I have no concerns that the race will come too soon for him and I look forward to seeing him in the Sussex Stakes or the QEII later in the season to see how he fares against the older milers.
So who chases him home? The race is in my opinion lacking real strength and depth and its hard to look past the second favourite Ivawood. He was a top two year old and looked likely to be champion juvenile before disappointing in the Middle Park. I say disappointed, he came second, but such was his reputation it was seen as poor run.
He was below par again in the Greenham first time out this season but he showed his old zest when coming third behind Gleneagles in the 2000 Guineas.
I know Belardo won the Dewhurst last season but it was a poor renewal and I rate Ivawood well above him. I see nothing else in the race who looks like a potential Classic winner so I’m putting forward the simple favourite to beat second favourite forecast in this race and I’m very confident it will come in.
15.45 Haydock | Channel 4
11 horses line up for the Temple Stakes and it looks a difficult puzzle to solve. Its 6/1 the field in this and you could make a case for most of these.
I’m going to take a chance here on Take Cover. He’s now eight years old but he is still lightly raced. He has won twice first time out, and the only time he was unplaced first time out was in the Kings Stand last year, coming eight, but he was only beaten three lengths.
He won twice last season at York and then landed a thrilling renewal of the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. His no nonsense approach to racing where he bowls along in front is a pleasure to watch and he has a fantastic attitude.
He’s won on soft ground in the past and though he falls short at Group 1 level he has won at Group 2 level before and I see this as the perfect opportunity to win another good sprint.
He’ll be there to be shot at throughout and I think he will give each way backers a great run for their money and I’ll be backing him accordingly.
14:45 Curragh – Mustajeeb to win (4/1 Coral)
15:20 Curragh – Gleneagles/Ivawood Straight Forecast
15:45 Haydock – Take Cover each way (9/1 Boylesports)
The Aidan O’Brien trained Gleneagles is the odds on hot favourite for Saturday’s Irish 2000 Guineas.
If you join Paddy Power this weekend you can back him at a tasty 4/1!