It’s a massive weekend of Group 1 action at the Curragh. The Irish 1000 and 2000 Guineas take place, Native Trail looking for valuable compensation having been narrowly beaten in his Newmarket Classic.
The Tattersalls Gold Cup also takes place on Sunday, while at Haydock we see the return of Winter Power in the Temple Stakes.
We bet across Friday and Saturday, beginning at Goodwood.
Friday 20th May 2022
2.10 Goodwood (Height of Fashion – Listed Race) – ETERNAL PEARL
Three fillies stand out in this 1m2f race. Emotion didn’t show up behind Emily Upjohn on debut, but trounced her opposition next time and is favourite here.
Sea Silk Road has a similar profile and clearly has lots of potential, but overpriced for this event is Charlie Appleby’s Eternal Pearl.
Eternal Pearl looked far from the finished article on debut at Ascot, staying on nicely late on behind the well-backed winner Grande Dame.
Both her reputation and her odds on the day suggested she should have run to a similar level to Grande Dame, that filly having since come out and run to a mark of around 100 in a Listed race at York having had trouble beforehand.
Having had a week or so more than Emotion and Sea Silk Road between races, it is very possible she can improve past them now.
2.30 Haydock (Cecil Frail Stakes – Listed Race) – FLOTUS
There isn’t much to choose between four horses here with place chances; Illustrating, Gale Force Maya, Sense Of Duty and Nazanin who may all attract attention.
Ventura Diamond may have a better chance, at least if getting back her best but in the end, this could be all about Flotus as long as her problems are behind her.
She had excuses when dropping out tamely on her seasonal debut, but she has tons of class and speed and wouldn’t need to have improved from last year’s form to win this.
3.20 Goodwood (Cocked Hat Stakes – Listed Race) – NATURAL WORLD
There are some interesting types in here for sure and few may well go on to be top class in the near future. Maksud and Mr Alan will need to improve, while Lysander is highly rated by his excellent trainer William Haggas.
Lysander won ever so easily at Newcastle, but it’s hard to say that he had any appreciable competition. A 20/1 shot for the Derby, Haggas still hopes to get to Epsom in a couple of weeks’ time and so a win here is required.
Aldous Huxley was an excellent debut scorer and a strong second to New London after, so with natural improvement under Frankie Dettori he too can make a big impression.
He does carry the second choice Godolphin colours however with Natural World the preferred horse for the owners, and me.
Having beaten subsequent Listed winner Ottoman Fleet on debut, Natural World was sent to the Derby Trial at Lingfield where he was third. That form is OK, but he is sure to be significantly better here and can go well with William Buick up top.
Saturday 21st May 2022
2.00 Haydock (Hell Nook Handicap) – BANDINELLI
A competitive two-mile handicap, one in which Goobinator and Haveyoumissedme may prove popular.
I got this very close between Melrose winner Valley Forge, who should be fully race fit now, and the improver Bandinelli.
The last-named has won three times on the all-weather and twice on the turf and he’s showing no signs of stopping as he goes up in trip.
2.15 Goodwood (Festival Stakes – Listed Race) – MOVIN TIME
This is wide open according to the betting, and I certainly thought it was very competitive too.
Victory Chime, Ad Infinitum, Al Zaraqaan, West End Charmer and Majestic Dawn will all be backed and all hold place chances you would think.
The one I like is Movin Time as the four-year-old may just improve to a higher level than the bulk of this field.
Second to the decent Rebel’s Romance on debut, he beat subsequent Queen’s Vase winner Kemari last May, was five lengths behind Mohaafeth at Royal Ascot, another five behind Lockinge runner-up Real World after that and had a pipe-opener in a handicap this season, all the while improving for each run.
3.10 Haydock (Sandy Lane Stakes – Group 2) – EL CABALLO
Rossa Ryan is adamant that Go Bears Go is the one to beat in this race, saying during the week that he cannot understand the betting.
In fact, his horse is favourite or joint-favourite at the time of writing with El Caballo and I get things very close between those two and Wings Of War.
We scored last week with Tiber Flow who was just beaten by El Caballo at Newcastle and that form is rock-solid. Karl Burke’s three-year-old may go in again.
3.30 York (Bronte Cup – Group 3) – SILENCE PLEASE
Believe In Love is understandably well fancied for the Roger Varian team, but frankly her form tends to take a dip when the ground gets quick which could be the case by Saturday afternoon.
She’d still be competitive at this level, as will Eileendover, however it could be Silence Please who comes out on top this time.
Placed at this level in Ireland, the mare was an unlucky loser on her debut for Andrew Balding in a Listed race at Goodwood in April, giving the impression she can still produce her very best which could be good enough.
12.01 Pimlico (Preakness Stakes – Grade 1) – SECRET OATH
We managed to score with outstanding filly Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago and she has been undervalued and overpriced once again.
The Preakness is the second leg of the Triple Crown, but there will be no Triple Crown champ after 80/1 Derby winner Rich Strike was not entered here.
Runner-up in the Derby, Epicenter, is a very short-priced favourite for this but the form level in the big race doesn’t match up to Secret Oath’s in my opinion, while she also gets a 5lb fillies’ allowance.
Secret Oath has been as smooth as silk so far for D Wayne Lukas and he may well be getting plenty of attention again on Saturday night.