UK Racing Tips

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Irish Champions Weekend Sunday

Yesterday saw a thrilling renewal of the Irish Champions Stakes in which Aidan O’Brien was richly rewarded for serving it up to Ghaiyyath as Magical won her second Irish Champion with a stunning performance.

Sunday features four consecutive Group 1 races: The Flying Five, The Moyglare, The National, and the Irish St Leger.

The Curragh traditionally favours those on speed, and for straight-track races, it’s usually ideal to be drawn high. The going should be considered soft 5 in Australian terms which should play fairly and suit most horses without being any great hindrance.


ONE VOICE was much too good for MAGIC WAND when the two met in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. She has a good turn of foot and if settling close enough to the pace she should look the winner in the run.

I thought she would start favourite so it is a touch surprising to see Magic Wand at the head of the market. Drawn gate 1, Magic Wand will likely attempt to make all and concede weight to plenty of talented fillies and if she does I think there is an opportunity to lay her at a short quote in running.

BOLLEVILLE was ridden upside down in France last start and will do better here with a more patient ride, particularly if the speed is genuine. Her win from last place two starts ago was electric.

LEMISTA and THUNDERING NIGHTS continue to improve but need career-bests to win this.

BACK (WIN) – One Voice for 2.5 units

LAY (WIN) – Magic Wand In-Play at $2 or lower for 3.5 units

This is wide open but I’m leaning to the two most progressive horses. QUE AMORO really tested Battaash in the Nunthorpe and forced him to pull out maximum effort to beat her. She must break efficiently though or her race is over as several dangers are drawn around her and she is claustrophobic.

MAKE A CHALLENGE has drawn the right side to be on and should definitely be in the money. He progressed from BM58 grade to odds-on in running in the Champions Sprint G1 last season and has been set for this. His recent win where he bombed the start but still cut through the field on the bridle was impressive and he is not facing genuine G1 stars in this lineup.

A’ALI beat Make A Challenge when they opposed at this track earlier this season. Make A Challenge got very upset and thrashed about in the stalls, missed the break and had to do extra work to be put into the race where A’Ali did things easily and managed to find a length over his tiring rival. Que Amoro had A’Ali well-held in the Nunthorpe however and needs to find 3L on that form.

One horse that stands out at an astronomical quote is ALLIGATOR ALLEY. He should have won the Molecomb last season and the horse that beat him LIBERTY BEACH is G1-placed now and a live chance in this field.

He was given a pipe-opener on the synthetic and hated every minute of it, so he should fare better back on turf. His form in 1000m races reads 12168, the final two with plenty of excuses when fractious and nearly falling out of the gates, and then failing to corner at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup. He should be 10-1 in this field.

BACK (WIN) – Que Amoro for 2 units

BACK (WIN) – Make a Challenge for 2.5 units

BACK (WIN) – Alligator Alley for 0.5 units

BACK (PLACE) – Alligator Alley for 1 unit

Tough to see anything holding out PRETTY GORGEOUS. She was far too good for SHALE last start, turning the tables on their previous encounter at this track and trip. The only thing that looks likely to beat her here is bad luck in running, and her price is certainly rock bottom.

It might be worth chancing the two Ken Condon fillies TERESA MENDOZA and THUNDER BEAUTY who look to have enormous upside. They’re likely to camp wide off what could be a good speed and avoid traffic issues posed to horses from the O’Brien dynasty.

Thunder Beauty travelled effortlessly to the front to win her maiden, even shaking off a bump from a rival to win hands and heels. Teresa Mendoza showed good gears when winning on debut and probably didn’t enjoy the heavy track last time. If there’s a pace collapse it’s likely both these will be in the finish.

BACK (WIN) – Thunder Beauty for 0.5 units

BACK (WIN) – Teresa Mendoza for 1 unit

This was the race where Pinatubo recorded the highest figures from a 2yo in 30 years and Charlie Appleby looks to repeat the trick with MASTER OF THE SEAS who has looked explosive in both starts thus far. The form from horses he has beaten hasn’t exactly stood up recently, but you can only beat what is put in front of you.

The same can be said of BATTLEGROUND who is the most physically impressive 2yo that I can recall. He is gigantic but still possesses an efficient stride and you would think he will improve even further in distance. He is the current antepost (futures) favourite for the 2000 Guineas and is drawn in between his two rivals Master of the Seas and LUCKY VEGA.

Bookies got a fair old touch up when this horse romped home in the Phoenix Stakes as the pick of the yard, tumbling from 11 to 5 at the jump. He bested Battleground on debut but there was no intent from the Coolmore team to win that race so I am paying little attention to it. He could also be vulnerable stepping up in distance to the 1400m.

MILITARY STYLE will set the gallop for his stablemates Battleground and ST MARK’S BASILICA, and for this reason and their ability to dictate the big races I’m taking Battleground to come out on top.

BACK (WIN) – Battleground for 4 units

FUJAIRA PRINCE won the Ebor superbly and now gets a shot at a weak-looking G1 over a suitable trip. He definitely prefers even to slow tempos as he races on speed and prefers to quicken up from the front, so what PASSION does is key. She made the running to win at G3 level last start and again gets ample weight off the older entires and geldings here. She is drawn gate 1 so you would think she rolls along and makes use of the light weight the same way SEARCH FOR A SONG did last year to win this. That horse looks gassed and should be a much longer price, especially without her 3yo allowance now as well.

SOVEREIGN may sit handy or lead himself but I can’t have him as he stole an Irish Derby as a pacemaker when the entirety of the field let him steal 12L in front. That was almost the same occurrence with stablemates TWILIGHT PAYMENT and Master Of Reality at this track last time.

Master Of Reality spotted him a dozen lengths and the jockey made no attempt to get him off the bridle and close the gap until Twilight Payment had the race well and truly won. Master Of Reality was then ridden closer and won like a $1.05 shot next start.

A further concern I have for Twilight Payment is that Nickajack Cave who was a Listed/G3 level battler prior to this season obliterated him at Leopardstown. He shouldn’t be anywhere near his current quote.

The X-Factor of the race is MICRO MANAGE who has a jumps career in store for him but I think he needs it wet as he couldn’t quicken to get to Delphi and Master of Reality last time out over this trip and ground.

BACK (WIN) – Fujaira Price for 3 units

BACK (EW) – Passion for 0.5 units


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