The Irish 2,000 Guineas doesn’t always match the hype of its Newmarket precursor but that accusation cannot be labelled this time around.
The newly-revamped Curragh has a race that is every inch a Classic in the making, as Magna Grecia squares up to Too Darn Hot – but don’t expect them to have it all their own way.
Skardu, each-way @ 15/2
Magna Grecia won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in fine style, with over two-lengths to spare on his Rowley Mile rivals at the line. Aidan O’Brien’s bid for an 11th win in this Curragh race will be led by the son of Invincible Spirit and he commands plenty respect, as a 6/4 chance should. He’s been toppled in the betting by Too Darn Hot, John Gosden’s British raider now heading the market at 11/8.
He, of course, missed Newmarket and has since suffered a first defeat of his career in York’s Dante, where the trip seemingly blunted his speed. He drops to a bare mile but has had only nine days to get over a tough race on the Knavesmire. His trainer is confident he has done just that, but there must be some concern. It is a potentially high-class duel, but don’t overlook Skardu too hastily.
The William Haggas colt led home the centre group at Newmarket in the Guineas there, shedding his own perfect record only by way of track bias. The Curragh is a fair circuit and he looks capable of bridging the gap with Magna Grecia, ensuring he’s a decent each-way play against the top pair.
Battaash to win @ 11/10
Over at Haydock the Group 2 Temple Stakes also has the look of being a duel, with Battaash defending his crown against last year’s fourth, Mabs Cross (note: Kachy finished second last year and runs again!).
Mabs Cross has subsequently finished ahead of Battaash in the Nunthorpe and when gaining a Group 1 win in France last year.
Having got weight last year, she’ll concede him 2lb now and that might make all the difference. Battaash and Kachy will blaze a trail, with Charlie Hills’ charge again fancied to hold out.
Mirage Dancer to win @ 6/4
At Goodwood, Sir Michael Stoute’s Mirage Dancer puts a perfect C&D record on the line in bidding to retain the Listed Tapster Stakes. The yard’s runners are absolutely flying at the moment and Mirage Dancer won this race with plenty in hand last year, before going on to great success at the ‘Glorious’ meeting in August. Just four rivals take him on and the son of Frankel ought to score again.
It could be a decent afternoon for the progeny of Frankel, with King’s Advice going for further success in the 1m6f handicap (16:40) at Goodwood.
He’s racked up a five-timer for Mark Johnston since March and could well defy the assessor again.
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