Irish Guineas Meeting 2016: Try Blue De Vega, Ashadihan and Fascinating Rock this weekend

Galileo Gold heads the betting for Saturday's Irish 2,000 Guineas but Tony Keenan goes elsewhere for the value
Galileo Gold heads the betting for Saturday's Irish 2,000 Guineas but Tony Keenan goes elsewhere for the value

The first Group 1 action of the Irish flat season take place at the Curragh this weekend and Tony Keenan has found a selection on all three top-level races...

"Blue De Vega looks the value currently. The fact that he missed the Newmarket Guineas to run at the Curragh two days later screams he would have needed the run and I expect him to reverse form with Awtaad under revised weight terms."

Back Blue De Vega @ 11.010/1 for the Irish 2,000 Guineas

There's a long list of horses at the Curragh this weekend that could have their chances compromised by softer ground - the likes of Air Force Blue, Air Vice Marshal, Ballydoyle and Time Test all spring to mind - so their connections will likely have their eyes trained on the weather-forecasting sites in the coming days. As it stands, the going is good-to-firm with rain forecast and my best guess is that it will be on the slow side of good for Saturday and Sunday.


Irish 2,000 Guineas


Regardless of ground, it is hard to back Air Force Blue in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Last year's Champion Juvenile was upwards of two stone below his best at Newmarket and the added tongue-tie and cross noseband raised concerns about a breathing problem. His ability to stay a mile is also a doubt, particularly in his trainer's mind, and he is readily passed over.

Galileo Gold is solid without being spectacular and he would be suited by softening ground. He's the right favourite and a fair price but Blue De Vega looks the value currently. The fact that he missed the Newmarket Guineas to run at the Curragh two days later screams he would have needed the run and I expect him to reverse form with Awtaad under revised weight terms. Most if not all of Michael O'Callaghan's horses have been improving for a run and the mile will suit ideally.


Irish 1,000 Guineas


Aidan O'Brien has long said that Ballydoyle wants fast ground but the form book doesn't really back that up; her last run on softer was a close second to Minding and that makes her the best of these. She's a worthy favourite for the Irish 1,000 Guineas after catching the eye in the English equivalent where she missed the kick and met some trouble. I couldn't put anyone off her.

Now Or Never looks very short at 4.57/2. She was visually impressive last time but it was a poor race and her market position seems more down to her recently being purchased by Qatar Racing which has generated some buzz.

At bigger odds, Ashadihan is worth backing. Post-race comments from jockeys can often be useless but Jamie Spencer's description of her win at Lingfield last time was anything but; he said that she hated the track and won in spite of it and it certainly looked that way. Not only that but she was ill-suited by the run of the race, coming from rear off a slow pace, and Spencer said he got down to his lowest weight to ride on the trainer's advice. The form looks solid and she should come on a lot for that as it was her first outing since the Ebor Meeting and while she is unproven on softer ground, Kevin Ryan commented that she didn't want it fast at Royal Ascot last year.


Tattersalls Gold Cup


My interpretation of the Tattersalls Gold Cup is a pretty simple one; Found and Fascinating Rock are roughly the same ability-wise yet one is odds-on and the other is 4.57/2. Fascinating Rock beat her on merit last year allowing that the filly met some trouble and likely needed the run in major way last time; there was a point in his career when he was good fresh but after the success he had last backend when the trainer left a bit to work on off a break, he seems to be handled differently now. Found may well beat him but he's definitely the value.


So it's Blue De Vega, Ashadihan and Fascinating Rock for me this weekend; they are suggested win only below but if you can get on each-way by all means do so, bad as it may be for the layers!


Recommended Bets:
Back Blue De Vega @ 11.010/1 for the Irish 2,000 Guineas
Back Ashadihan @ 17.5 for the Irish 1,000 Guineas
Back Fascinating Rock @ 4.57/2 for the Tattersalls Gold Cup

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