IT’S a brilliant days racing on Sunday with action from both Ireland and France. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) preview the action for us.
14:35 Curragh | At The Races
The market tells us this race revolves around two horses. Tapestry and Bocca Baciata. Though the rest of the field is of a decent standard these are the two most likely winners but there is only one I could back.
Tapestry is a filly who other than one performance is a horse who’s price is based on reputation. She came second in the Fillies Mile as a two year old and on her reappearance as a three year old was sent off favourite for the 1000 Guineas where she flopped. She gradually improved throughout the season before putting up the performance of her life to beat Taghrooda at York.
She was then disappointing back at a mile at Leopardstown before finishing down the field in the Arc. Though her York performance marks her down as the horse to beat she will need to be very fit here to win this on her seasonal debut. I’m happy to oppose her.
Bocca Baciata is a horse I like a lot. She disappointed at Royal Ascot on quick ground but showed that was not her true running with an emphatic win in a Curragh Group 3 over nine furlongs last time out. She appears to need a bit of cut in the ground and she will have that here. This looks like her optimum conditions and with her main rival coming back from a lay off this looks tailor made for Bocca Baciata to get another win on the board.
15:40 and 16:15 Curragh | At The Races
I’ve never reviewed two races at once before but I’m always willing to try new things and hopefully it pays off. Two year old Group 1 races in Ireland have long been farmed out by Coolmore and this year looks no different. Aidan O’Brien has the favourite in both of these races and unless a monsoon arrives I see no reason to oppose either.
First up Ballydoyle runs in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. The fact she carries the name of the famous stable indicates they have had high hopes for her for a while, and after a slow start to her career she looks like a filly destined for the very top. Already favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas she was an impressive winner from the front of the Debutante Stakes last month. The fourth that day Turret Rocks has since won the May Hill this week at Doncaster and the form looks solid. She should win this race.
Then at 16:15 we have Air Force Blue. Second in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot he turned that form on its head last time out in the Phoenix Stakes. He stayed on well to win in the style of a horse who will appreciate the extra furlong here and he is without doubt the horse to beat here.
Herald the Dawn is the obvious danger after his Group 2 win last time out, but he has a bit to find with his rival here. Air Force Blue looks to have a bit more pace than HTD and I expect him to cement his place as ante-post favourite for the Guineas after winning here. I will be backing the Coolmore pair in a double for these two races.
15:45 Longchamp | At The Races
The top Group 1 mile race in France today and it’s attracted a classy looking field. Unfortunately no British horses are taking their chances with the late withdrawals of Dutch Connection and Arod but there are plenty of familiar names in the line up.
Esoterique finally got the win her form this season deserved last time out winning the Jacques Le Marois beating Territories in good style. This is her third Group 1 race in quick succession and on this slightly quicker ground I don’t think she will confirm that form here.
Ervedya is a classy filly who won a hot renewal of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot but was put in her place by a rejuvenated Amazing Maria last time out. She is a real fast ground filly and I’m not convinced this will be to her liking. She needs to be delivered late and this looks a tougher race to do that so I’m happy to oppose her here.
I fancy Territories to reverse the form with Esoterique in this as the better ground will play to his strengths. He’s the second best three year old colt over a mile and if Gleneagles was in this he’d be odds on so I’m happy to take 4/1 about his understudy in this.
16:50 Curragh | At The Races
The Irish St Leger is here and it looks like a very good renewal. Unlike the British version it’s open to horses of all ages which allowed the great Vinnie Roe to win it four times. It’s a far stronger race than Doncaster provided us with yesterday but I think the Classic generation will come out on top still.
Brown Panther won this last year, but it was on far quicker ground and he was given one of the softest leads in a Group 1 race I’ve ever seen. He’s been a model of consistency over the years but I can’t see him winning this again.
Forgotten Rules had the staying world at his hoofs six months ago, but after his Gold Cup defeat and a sub par performance in Ireland afterwards he lines up here with his reputation dented severely. Granted he has far more suitable ground conditions here but it could be that he just isn’t as good as we thought he was. He may prove me wrong here but I’m prepared to take that risk and oppose him.
Second Step is an improved horse this year and looks like a danger in this. He picked up a German Group 1 last time out, and though others have stronger form he comes here on the top of his game and looks like the distance here will play to his strengths. That said he has to concede weight to a rival that looks thrown in here and I’m unable to back Second Step in this.
Order of St George receives 11lbs from his rivals here, and on the basis of what he has achieved on the track it’s an enormous concession. As a two year old Order of St George didn’t set the world on fire and it’s safe to say he was rather far down the pecking order in Ballydoyle.
However the combination of a winter strengthening up and a step up to staying distances has seen him emerge as the stand out three year old over this trip with an impressive victory in a St Leger trial last time beating Sea Moon effortlessly with a desperately in need of the run Kingfisher further back.
He is an uncomplicated colt who will relish these conditions and I make him a very confident selection here. I fully expect Aidan O’Brien to register his second St Leger of the weekend here, but this one will be done without the use of the stewards.
14:35 Curragh - Bocca Baciata to win (3/1 Bet365)
15:40/16:15 Curragh – Ballydoyle and Air Force Blue win double (9/2 Paddy Power)
15:45 Longchamp – Territories to win (4/1 Coral)
16:50 Curragh – Order Of St George to win (11/4 Paddy Power)