Horse Racing Tips

Friday Irish Racing Tips: Wordsworth to take Curragh Cup

Mark Milligan has three bets at the Curragh on Friday

"It could be that this trip is the absolute 'sweet spot' for Wordsworth, and this Group 2 event didn't come up all that deep"

Mark Milligan previews the first day of the Irish Derby meeting, where he fancies Aidan O'Brien to take the feature event...

The Curragh stages the opening day of its Irish Derby on Friday evening and the feature event, the 1m 6f Group 3 Comer Group International Curragh Cup (18:43), can go the way of Wordsworth, who's making a quick turnaround having run on the final day of Royal Ascot just last week.

Aidan O'Brien's son of Galileo was trying an extreme trip for the first time there in the Queen Alexandra, and while Ryan Moore gave him an aggressive ride that assumed he'd have no trouble staying, he clearly ran out of petrol in the last couple of furlongs.

Wordsworth actually only won a maiden in his 3-y-o season, though he ran several good races at the top level, notably when placed behind Hurricane Lane in both the Irish Derby and Grand Prix de Paris.

He returned with a win on his first start this season, taking a minor event over this trip at Gowran in April before being beaten less than a length behind Princess Zoe in the 2m Sagaro Stakes at Ascot later that month.

He dropped back to 1m 4f for his next start when third in a listed contest here, and clearly shaped as if that trip is a minimum for him nowadays.

It could be that this trip is the absolute 'sweet spot' for Wordsworth, and this Group 2 event didn't come up all that deep.

I'm expecting Ryan Moore to be forceful again and his mount should get the job if none the worse for those exertions at Ascot last week.

Practice to make perfect in Apprentice Derby

The apprentice jockeys get their moment in the limelight for the 1m 4f D N G Apprentice Derby at 19:18, which is a conditions event open to horses rated up to 80.

Once we get to middle-distances at this time of year, I like siding with 3-y-os against their elders as I believe the weight-for-age scale works disproportionately in their favour.

This can be a big advantage, particularly if you identify a lightly-raced 3-y-o who may not yet have fully shown his hand, and I believe that's the case with Joseph O'Brien's Common Practice.

This son of Gleneagles has only run five times to date, and each of those outings have come over 7f, a distance that has looked increasingly inadequate for him as time has gone on.

He was gelded before his recent return when fourth at Listowel and looked rusty while kept to the 7f trip that he'd tried on all four starts as a juvenile, eventually plugging on from the rear.

This step up to 1m 4f could well be the making of the J P McManus-owned gelding, and it looks a big boost to his chances that Dylan Brown McMonagle also takes the ride, as he's one of the most experienced and talented riders in the field.

Mullins mob handed in closer

We once again saw Willie Mullins' prowess with stayers on the flat as Stratum took the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot last week, that coming on the heels of an excellent run in the Gold Cup by Burning Victory, and a good placed effort by Bring On The Night in the Ascot Stakes.

He fires four at the closing 2m handicap (20:28), the pick of which may be Maze Runner, who has attracted the services of champion jockey Colin Keane in the saddle.

Maze Runner has some solid C&D form to his name, most notably when third in the Irish Cesarewitch back in October off a mark of 76, and he gets to race off a perch just 5lb higher in this contest.

The son of Authorized had a bit of a quiet time over hurdles during the winter, but he's rated much higher comparatively in that sphere, and he signalled a big return to form when third a strong handicap at Punchestown in April.

He's had a month or two to freshen up since that good run and it will be a big surprise to me if he doesn't play a prominent role in a contest he should be more than capable of winning from this sort of mark.

There are plenty of dangers lurking, however, the most interesting of which could well be Dermot Weld's lightly raced filly Kazakdaria, who was a winner over 1m 5f at Leopardstown in April.

She made a perfectly good return to action when third over 1m 6f at this track earlier in the month and shapes as if 2m will be no problem whatsoever.

In a field where few have secrets from the assessor, she may still be reasonably handicapped off a mark of 87, though giving weight to the likes of Maze Runner will be no easy task.

Recommended bets

Mark's P/L

Staked: 210
Returns: 270.09
P/L: +60.09


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