Curragh, Haydock, Goodwood & York Saturday Featured Contests.

As you’ve probably guessed by the title, there’s loads of action to get stuck into this bank holiday weekend over here and Ireland so if the missus has got plans for you to walk around a garden center you’ve at least got all this action to watch on your phone to make it that bit more bearable.

I’ll start off in Ireland with the 3.35 at the Curragh with the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes and the horse that I can’t really oppose here is Acapulco (5/6) for AP O’Brien. This horse has been one of my favourites since she was trained in America by Wesley Ward, she is bigger than my garage and is very impressive on her day. She made a winning debut for her new all conquering connections last time out and she is certainly the one to beat here. Suedois (13/2) may be the each way selection and best of the rest for David O’Meara, he was eighth in the Yorkshire Cup last week but got in the frame within Group 1 company last term.

Moving to the Irish 2000 Guineas next at the Curragh at 4.10 and this contest has been cut down to six runners which makes it even more difficult to find something to oppose the market leader Churchill. Winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket he looks a formality to take this as well for AP O’Brien which reflects in his odds of 4/11. If you are looking to take him on for a bit of value you could look at Irishcorrespondent (6/1) for Mick Halford, he’s won his two starts and took his last victory at the Curragh in nice style winning very comfortably, he’s one that i’ll certainly be keeping an eye on throughout the season. Another one you could look at is perhaps Thunder Snow (10/1) for Saeed Bin Surroor and Godolphin, he was pulled up in the Kentucky Derby but won his last three before that all in Group company and is clearly a big talent.

To Goodwood now and the 3.45 listed contest over 1 mile 4 and this is a fiercely competitive affair just about headed by Desert Encounter for David Simcock following his victory in a listed affair at Ascot a few weeks back. The one i’d be willing to take a chance on here is Barsanti (5/2) for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni, he won all of the handicap contests he was involved in last season and was placed in listed company on a couple of occasions, if returning to the top of his game there is no reason to suggest that he can’t claim this. Second Step is feared if finding old form.

To the 3.30 at Haydock now in the Group 2 Sandy Lane stakes over six furlongs. It’s headed by another up and coming horse that looks very difficult to oppose and the one i’ll be siding with in Harry Angel (5/6) for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby. Adam fired in several winners here yesterday and I can see him adding another one here with this one, he was a very good second to the highly rated Blue Point at Ascot last time out his first start of the season following success in the Group 2 Mill Reef at Newbury last term, if anywhere near his best he’ll be very hard to peg back here. One that you could side with for a bit value might be Poet’s Vanity (12/1) for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy, ran well for a lot of the 1,000 Guineas before the stamina looked to take its toll so a drop back to six might be welcomed.

The 4.05 Temple Stakes at Haydock is another Group 2 contest that has got an abundance of talent in it and is headed by Washington DC for AP O’Brien.  This horse is one of the top sprinters for the all conquering connections and he made a very decent reappearance when second to Marsha at Newmarket last month. One of last year’s star performers is also down to go in this at the moment in Quiet Reflection, Karl Burke’s charge would much prefer a bit of rain as the current weather is putting her run in some jeopardy. Priceless is another big player if she turns up, she was fifth behind Marsha and the market priniciple on her last outing before winning her first run of the season by five lengths. If we do get a bit of rain Quiet Reflection will be a big player however as it stands I can see Washington DC (4/1) being a decent enough price to side with at the top of the market for the powerful connections.

The 2.40 at York is the Grand Cup Listed Stakes and is a really competitive renewal of which you could make a case for a lot of the big hitters at the top of the market such as Del Harraild, Clever Cookie, Curbyourenthusiasm and Harrison. However I’m having another one of those outsider moments here with this one, and want to take a chance on Alyssa (12/1) for Ralph Beckett and Fran Berry. This one made massive progress last year and ended the season with a win in a listed contest at Ascot. Granted needs to come on again to take this here but I certainly wouldnt be ruling her out and looks a more than acceptable price to take an each way punt on.

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