After the Goodwood rain comes the Curragh sun. Regular racing is back for a couple of weeks, and it’s that time of the season where the attention begins to turn to the youngsters, as the first 2-Y-O Group One, the Phoenix Stakes, takes place over in Ireland. There’s also juvenile action from Newmarket, and interesting renewal of the Rose of Lancaster in this week’s four to follow.
Shar To Dash
3:25 – Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Group Three) – Shartash @ 9/2 (William Hill, Boylesports)
We’ve seen plenty of non-runners in this race already, which looks like that ground down at Goodwood Surprisingly this season, the British have dominated group sprint races at the Curragh.
Commanche Falls and Art Power are the two who have lit up Ireland’s premier flat course. But Shartash isn’t without hope. The allowance is crucial for him and allows her to become one of the highest rated horses in the race, and the better ground may suit him better.
He may be drawn in the centre of the track, but he’s surrounded by plenty of pace, which should give him a nice gallop to latch on to.
4:40 – Phoenix Stakes (Group One) – Unquestionable @ 5/2 (William Hill, BetVictor)
Both Bucanero Fuente and Unquestionable deserved to have another go at each other again. It was a fantastic race with only a head separating them in the Railway Stakes. Both sons of Wootton Bassett look inseparable, but I think Unquestionable can reverse the result from last time out.
Firstly, Unquestionable is drawn nearer to the stand-side rail, and it’s quite hard from a horse in stall one to make the journey over to grab it. There’s a good pace angle from Givemethebeatboys on Unquestionable’s outside, and if he gets over to the rail there’s a pacemaker for Bucanero Fuente to latch on to.
Finally, the Phoenix Stakes dictate that Aidan O’Brien is never far away from the winner’s enclosure, with 17 wins in the race, including with the recently retired Little Big Bear last year.
Scorch The Turf
3:40 – Sweet Solera Stakes (Group Three) – Carolina Reaper @ 4/1 (General)
Mark Johnston has won this race four times in the last ten years. In fact his record since 2014 is 1211231, with no runners in ‘16 & ’17. That’s a strike rate of 71% in the race for nine years. Carolina Reaper is this year’s offering from the Johnston team and looks really attractive.
She finally broke her maiden in style last time out over C&D, winning by four-and-a-half lengths. Form-wise, the second came and won next time out at Lingfield and the third goes in the second race on the same card today.
The rail helped her on her maiden win, but today she is drawn towards the centre of the track. She does have pace to latch on to in the stall to her outside, and in form jockey with Jack Mitchell can see her over the line.
3:00 – Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (Group Three) – Midnight Mile @ 6/1 (William Hill)
Fillies haven’t got a great record in this race. In fact, a filly hasn’t won this race since Braiswick in 1989, 34 years ago. Surely this year will buck the trend when the exciting Midnight Mile is introduced.
She won stylishly at York last time out, and the ground will be perfect for her this time around. A hefty allowance will put her up as one of the highest rated, and Oisin Orr is one of the jockeys to keep an eye on with a 22% strike rate.
The very best of luck!