The Curragh hosts the Irish 1,000 Guineas this afternoon and Tony Keenan has previewed a strong eight-race card for betting.betfair.com readers...
"It looks like Neverushacon is in the form of his life at the moment, running well in competitive handicap hurdles the last twice, and with that in mind he should be able to go close off 73 now."
Punting at the Curragh could be tricky this afternoon with rain forecast overnight and a weather warning for the south Leinster counties that could creep up to Kildare; that is something to monitor through the day.
It may not be the fast ground that Romanised won the 2,000 Guineas on yesterday, sent off a Betfair SP of 50.049/1 and hitting 200.0199/1 in running. Amazingly, he was not just Ken Condon's first winner of the season but his first winner since July 29th last year but before we go celebrating the small man it is worth pointing out that Romanised is owned by a billionaire and Aidan O'Brien won four of the other races on the card!
Curragh 15:35 - Dutch Claregate and Roconga in competitive field
Wooster was a big eye-catcher getting trouble up the rail last time at Leopardstown but that is factored into his price here and the value might be elsewhere. Claregate Street looks overpriced having won impressively at Dundalk but that was while dictating at slow pace; still, she is lightly-raced and has lots of physical scope so could improve again.
The other one to be interested in is Roconga who seems to have been miscast as a jumper for years. By Rakti, he is much more bred for the flat and his consistent form on the level backs that up; in four runs up to twelve furlongs, he has won thrice and been third while meeting traffic in the other. Just a pound higher than his last winning mark, he showed up well over fences recently and is worth a small bet.
Curragh 16:10 - Happily looks a touch short over a mile
The bar for the 1,000 Guineas - at least in terms of his season's form - is set by Happily but she does resemble yesterday's beaten 2,000 Guineas favourite Elarqam in that she may be best over 10 furlongs and is not as far clear of the rest as her price suggests. Chiara Luna ran an excellent race on her return at Leopardstown, shaping like the best filly in that trial; she was making her seasonal debut against horses both fitter and more experienced than her and did well to finish fourth off a slow pace. The bigger prices about her have gone but she is still worth backing given the potential improvement to come.
I can't resist backing Clemmie at these odds either. Her trainer has said she will need this but we saw with both Merchant Navy and Hydrangea yesterday that these Ballydoyle runners can win or run well without being at full fitness. Both Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore seemed in little doubt that she was the best of their fillies last year and with her breeding she should prove even better over a mile.
Curragh 17:20 - Look to Harrington and Weld runners in the staying handicap
It looks like Neverushacon is in the form of his life at the moment, running well in competitive handicap hurdles the last twice, and with that in mind he should be able to go close off 73 now. He was placed off slightly higher marks on the flat last summer when not in quite such good order and the only major concern here is very fast ground but the rain could negate that worry.
Aydoun is worth a small saver too. He probably never merited his first official rating of 98 but equally this current 82 could be on the low side with how he shaped in the Tipperary Cup last time; the first time blinkers seemed to light him up and he raced too keen early on, rather taking himself through the field having initially been held up. He travelled well into the straight and deserved to finish closer than eight lengths he was beaten and it could be significant that the blinkers are being replaced by cheekpieces as he won the only previous time they were applied.
Curragh 17:55 - O'Brien second string has excellent recent form
Plenty was made of Broad Street winning at Navan last Saturday and perhaps rightly so but the second Lucius Tiberius ran well too and looks underrated by the market here; he could well have beaten the winner with a clear run and did well to quicken up so markedly given it was a slowly-run race. Certainly he looked a different horse to the one-paced sort that raced at two, seemingly possessing far more gears, though whether it was the faster ground or the winter off that brought the improvement is unclear. Ryan Moore is on Gardens Of Babylon who should be suited by this better ground but the recent form of Donnacha O'Brien's mount is preferred.
2018 P+L: -16.3 points
0.5 Point Back Claregate Street @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the Curragh 15:35
0.5 Point Back Roconga @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the Curragh 15:35
0.5 Point Back Chiara Luna @ 9.28/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:10
0.5 Point Back Clemmie @ 8.07/1 or bigger in the Curragh 16:10
1 Point Back Neverushacon @ 6.05/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:20
0.5 Point Back Aydoun @ 15.014/1 or bigger in the Curragh 17:20
1 Point Back Lucius Tiberius @ 4.216/5 or bigger in the Curragh 17:55