Tony Calvin explains why the big race at the Curragh is one to watch and selects three bets at Goodwood, Newmarket and York...
"Deep Intrigue has been done no favours whatsoever in being drawn 13 of 14, but the price reflects that bad berth and I can't resist an interest at 22.021/1 or better on him in the 7f handicap at 14:30."
Four meetings and nine races are featured on ITV on Saturday, and we may as well start with the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh at 15:35.
It is impossible to argue with the fact the impressive Newmarket winner Magna Grecia and Dante runner-up Too Darn Hot deserve to dominate the market, but the problem is that the layers were hardly going to be generous about either pair.
I actually would have still gone for the Derby with Too Darn Hot after his York second to Telecaster, but Frankie was apparently adamant he didn't last home over the extended 1m2f there - and John Gosden uncharacteristically made a snap judgement to return to a mile, there and then - so last year's top juvenile rocks up here.
The issue his supporters have - aside from just a nine-day turnaround - is that Magna Grecia did also look very good at Newmarket, and you could easily argue that he perhaps should be heading to Epsom as well, though the Monopolies Commission would have been asking questions of Ballydoyle if he had been.
The obvious temptation is to look for an each-way punt against them. But you are probably only playing for places at best.
The most obvious pair against the dominant form duo are Guineas third Skardu and high-class juvenile Phoenix Of Spain - or maybe even the Cork winner Decrypt - though I can see Mohawk outrunning his 33/1+ odds.
Last year's Royal Lodge winner could benefit from forcing tactics, back to 1m, after his Dee Stakes second, though clearly there is the possibility - perhaps probability - that he will be sacrificed on the front end.
In conclusion, the front two in the market are highly likely to place, so much so that the each-way angle isn't overly-enticing.
Deep Intrigue can defy bad draw
The Irish 2000 Guineas is one to watch then, so let's return to England for the weekend punts. There is a nasty little opener at Goodwood at 13:55 in which eight go to post - hopefully, anyway if you are betting each-way on the fixed-odds front - and you can't rule out any of them.
I actually do agree that Vintager is the right favourite, as he did very well when third off a mark of 110 in a 1m1f Newmarket handicap last time, but I can easily leave him alone at around 3/1 with so much credible opposition.
It is clear that the normally-savvy Roger Varian camp think that Willie John is far better than he has managed to show so far, and perhaps 1m2f on fast ground will be his optimum, but he hasn't been missed in the market yet again at 5/1 and this race was too tricky for my brain to unravel at the odds on offer.
Deep Intrigue has been done no favours whatsoever in being drawn 13 of 14, but the price reflects that bad berth and I can't resist an interest at 22.021/1 or better on him in the 7f handicap at 14:30.
You would clearly have preferred to see him drawn near the rail and attack this field from the front, as I think there is a strong possibility that 7f on quick ground, which he gets for the first time here, could be his optimum conditions.
He probably didn't handle the soft ground when fourth over this trip at Ascot last time, but his only other start at this distance saw him run a belter to be beaten a neck by Fanaar on the all-weather at Lingfield in March,
He has been dropped 2lb since Ascot and this quicker surface is sure to suit, and hopefully he can get the breaks from his outside draw, if he can't get in or close to the pace early doors. The stable have won this race twice in the last four years, for what it is worth (probably not a great deal, in truth).
At the prices, Alhakmah makes most appeal of the others at around 8/1+.
Nakeeta the each-way bet at Haydock
Over at Haydock will see Calyx further underline his formidable talent in the four-runner Group 2 Sandy Lane but few will be betting on that at around 5s-on, and I don't see much of an angle into the six-runner Temple Stakes which sees Battaash take on Mabs Cross and Kachy. A fair pace match-up that.
But the other ITV races on the card are decent betting heats, with Eden Rose the predictable, and deserved, favourite in the opening 2m handicap at 14:15.
But he has gone up 16lb for his two all-weather wins, and he now has to go and do it on turf on fast ground, and at a short price too.
I think a pair of 8yos, Nakeeta and Watersmeet, are the each-way options against the improver, and the former rates a bet at 6/1 each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook.
He has certainly been given every chance by the handicapper as he has been dropped to a mark of 100, which obviously enables him to get into this 0-100, and hopefully he is now in the form to take advantage.
The jury is out on that as he hasn't really shone in his last three starts, but the 2017 Ebor winner is now 6lb lower than when a good fifth in the valuable JLT Cup on good to firm at Newbury last July.
And the return to handicap company on a quicker surface will surely suit after his reappearance in the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan last month.
He is two-from-two at the track, and could well outclass these with that comeback run under his belt. He has needed his initial run badly in his last two seasons, for all that they came in the Chester Cup (a race he was finished in 2016).
The 17-runner 3yo 1m handicap at 14:50 looked an absolute minefield at first glance. And, after the second and third viewings, I decided enough was enough. The race beat me and I gave it a swerve.
Solid chance at York
We also have two races at York to ponder over too, but just the 5f handicap at 15:45 interests me. And, even then, only to small stakes.
The one that caught my eye is Duke Of Firenze at 13.012/1 or bigger, though an honourable mention goes to my old mucker Holmeswood, who has now slipped to a very exploitable mark after being dropped another 2lb for his first outing for a new yard last time.
However, the selection just looks pretty solid. Well, as solid as you can get in a 19-runner sprint handicap.
Two potential negatives are that he is the old boy of the party as a 10yo and has been drawn 19 of 19. I never like being stuck on the wide extremes in these races, as track position/bias is often so important.
But he comes here in good form after a Thirsk win last time and a 3lb rise for that success looks fair.
He is still 24lb shy of his peak rating of 109 in 2017, and he has run some of his best races at this track, including two wins and a 1.01-gubbing when second in 2016.
He is not that a flash price, but he will just about do for me.
Nakeeta at 6/1 each-way in 14:15 at Haydock
Deep Intrigue at 22.021/1 or bigger in 14:30 at Goodwood
Duke Of Firenze at 13.012/1 or bigger in 15:45 at York