Nick Luck is on hand to preview a cracking weekend of Racing in the UK and the action for Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh…
Starting with the Haydock Sprint Cup that goes to post on Saturday at 2.25pm. We are set for a really good running of this and Brando is the selection after his decisive win in the Group 1 Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. We knew this was a horse who was likely to stay six and half furlongs that day because of his win over a stiff six under a big weight at the Ayr Gold Cup last year but that said he was the winner at every stage of the Deauville race and a return to a more conventional six furlongs should be no inconvenience, he has plenty of pace.
On the face of it he does have a bit to find with Harry Angel on their July Cup efforts but Harry Angel had it all his own way that day and Brando was forced to make up a lot of ground into a quickening tempo. At the current prices the Ryan horse is preferred.
If there is an overpriced horse in the race it is probably Blue Point who I would fancy rather strongly if it were not for the prospect of pretty soft ground.
It could be a good day for Kevin Ryan at Haydock as I like his Flaming Spear to run a big race in the Superior Mile at 3.35pm. He is 7 or 8/1 at present which I think is too big. A very talented individual on his day and and connections have had to tread carefully with him as he is difficult to train and nor can he go on quick ground. It’s clear they have had clear sailing with him of late and he was very impressive last time and I do think he could be a major force to be reckoned with at Group Level.
At Kempton I thought it might be worth taking second favourite Midterm to to outpoint Chemical Charge in the Group 3 September Stakes off at 2.05pm. I must confess Midterm is never a horse I have been in love with but I thought he looked like a completely different proposition at Epsom last time so it seems that that typically patient Sir Michael Stoute approach is beginning to bear fruit. A decent turn of foot is often a potent asset on the polytrack and I can see him following up in what could be a tactical affair.
As for Ireland the Irish Champion Stakes, 6.45pm on Saturday at Leopardstown, is likely to be quite a test of Churchill’s stamina if not his ability. He is being asked to out gallop four strong galloping types at the trip who are all, to varying degrees, proven on soft ground.
Softish conditions proved no barrier to Churchill’s success either as as a two year old or more pertinently when second to Ulysses in the International and as I’ve written elsewhere this week I thought he massively enhanced his reputation in defeat that day. He showed two things we were not sure he was able to do i.e. to take on older horses and run strong for 12f plus dig in really hard when the chips are down. Quite simply as long as he doesn’t get engaged in battle too soon I feel he should win.
There is no reason to suspect Winter will not win the Matron Stakes at 5.35pm but I do fancy Persuasive to run a nice race again, she was second in the race last year, is proven with cut in the ground and is bound to do better for her comeback run. Gosden has pointed her to this for quite a while and I’m tempted to have a little dart e/w at the likely odds.
As for Sunday at the Curragh it’s fascinating to see Caravaggio back in the Flying Five at 3.05pm. Though the ground at the Curragh at the moment is looking softer than the ground at Leopardstown if his well documented foot problems are behind him then he should be able to dispose of this lot. Granted there is a small doubt after the last two runs and I’m quite tempted by Son Of Rest for Fozzy Stack if that lines up as an alternative.
Aidan O’Brien has multiple entries for the Moyglare and it’s hard to think he hasn’t got a pretty good grip on the race but he will need to have if he is going to get the better of the Jessica Harrington trained Alpha Centauri. The pause for freshness will do her the world of good since Ascot where I thought she shaped like much the best filly in the Albany, she is a big powerful filly I don’t think she will have any problem tacking the likely ground so she remains of real interest. I’d be inclined to side with her.
One of those weekends where you’re not really sure where to look first – hopefully we have found a winner or two in here.
Haydock 2.25 – Brando
Haydock 3.35 – Flaming Spear
Kempton 2.05 – Midterm
Leopardstown 5.35 – Persuasive e/w
Curragh 3.05 – Son Of Rest e/w ( If he runs )
Curragh 3.40 – Alpha Centauri
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.