Aidan O’Brien reports Newmarket Guineas winner Magna Grecia on course to bid to follow up in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh on Saturday – live on ITV Racing – although his prohibitive odds of 4/7 with BetVictor make little appeal from a betting medium.
There is no significant rain forecast for the rest of the week in Dublin although there should be drizzle on Thursday and Saturday. Charles Hills’ colt Phoenix Of Spain was beaten just a head by Magna Grecia in the Gp 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster back in October and is likely to make his belated reappearance at the weekend. He is 9/1 at BetVictor to land the first classic of the Irish season and that looks too big an each way price for this imposing and talented grey.
Sir Michael Stoute has his string much further forward than his often the case at this stage of the season and Alkaarama (1.50) travelled like a decent sort at Doncaster on debut when third over 7f. The colt drops back in trip for the Wolverhampton opener this afternoon and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race given he is bred to appreciate today’s surface. Jim Crowley takes over in the saddle.
Junior Rip (3.20) is bred to come into his own over today’s trip – half-brother to a couple of 12f winners – and he has been dropped 3lbs since finishing down the field on his handicap debut over, seemingly, an inadequate mile at Haydock last month.
Simon Crisford saddled the winner of the Nottingham opener 12 months ago and his Be Prepared is a fascinating contender in what promises to be an informative 2-y-old contest. The vote, however, goes to Charlie Appleby’s Ottoman Court (2.10) who is half-brother to the UAE Oaks runner up Swift Rose and is certainly bred to be useful. The Shamardal colt had four entries between Tuesday and Friday this week, but Godolphin have chosen this contest. James Doyle takes the ride with William Buick still side-lined.
Lady Mascara (3.15) makes her turf debut in the 0-70 Classified event and there is likely to be more to come from James Fanshawe’s filly who was not knocked about at Wolverhampton last time. She is well drawn in stall six although she has been slowly away from the gates on at least two of her three starts to date.
The winner of Lady Mascara’s last start at Dunstall Park was Nearooz (3.45) and Roger Varian’s unbeaten filly is taken to make it three out of three in a cracking Fillies’ Handicap over a mile. The selection won her sole juvenile start over 7f at Newmarket and still holds an entry in the Ribblesdale Stakes (12f) at the Royal meeting next month.
John Gosden’s Dunehill will appreciate the step up to a mile for the first time and is open to significant improvement, but a bigger danger is likely to come from I Am Magical who carries a 6lbs penalty for scoring at Newmarket last week when she overcame trouble in running.
There are two non-runners in the 10f Fillies’ Handicap, but it is another good little contest and I hope to see Inclyne (4.20) go one better than when runner up from a 2lbs lower mark at Ascot last time. That was the fillies’ first start over 10f, but we now know she gets the trip perfectly well. Lady Lizzy has finished runner up in all four career starts but certainly deserves to win a race.
The progressive all-weather stayer True Destiny has not raced on turf since his racecourse debut and his ability to handle today’s fast ground must be taken on trust. Master Grey (4.55) landed a touch for us a week ago on his first start over two miles when he seemed to show improved form when scoring by 5L at Chepstow.
The selection carries a 5lbs penalty this afternoon and this does look a much better race, but he looked well ahead of the handicapper last week and will certainly be raised by more than 5lbs once the handicapper has had his say.
It wasn’t much of a race that Alltimegold (7.40) won at Ffos Las over the minimum trip a week ago with the pace collapsing up front – but he did it with the minimum of fuss and today’s step up in trip promises to suit. Talented 7lbs conditional jockey Charlie Price takes over this evening and negates the 7lbs penalty. If in the same mood tonight as he was in south Wales Tim Vaughan’s 6-year-old will be very tough to beat.
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