Horse Racing Tips

Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Take My Astra to motor home

Mark Milligan has a trio of selections at the Curragh on Sunday

"Looming up a couple of furlongs from home, My Astra took the lead soon after and simply powered away from The Blue Brilliant, the final winning margin of 12 lengths not flattering her whatsoever"

In-form tipster Mark Milligan is back to look at the closing day of the Curragh's Irish Derby meeting, where he has three selections for us...

The 1m 2f Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at 15:45 is the highlight of the closing day of the Curragh's Irish Derby meeting and William Haggas looks to hold a strong hand as he fields both My Astra and the year younger Purplepay.

The latter hasn't been with the yard long having joined from Cedric Rossi in France for the not inconsiderable sum of 2m euros, and she went part way to paying that back when taking the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly over 1m last time, looking just the sort of filly who'll progress as she goes up further in trip.

For all she's the choice of stable jockey Tom Marquand, I prefer the claims of her stable companion, who could hardly have been more impressive when taking apart an Ayr listed race last time.

Looming up a couple of furlongs from home, My Astra took the lead soon after and simply powered away from The Blue Brilliant, the final winning margin of 12 lengths not flattering her whatsoever.

She was in the Hoppings at Newcastle on Friday but it looks significant that connections opted to take her out of that and aim for this Group 1 contest, that a measure of the regard she's clearly held in.

This is a competitive race, though, as you'd expected for the prize money on offer, with other dangers lurking in the shape of Dreamloper, Concert Hall and La Pettie Coco, though I was so taken by My Astra's latest win that I simply had to be with her here, and the Sportbook's 7.513/2 makes plenty of appeal from an each-way perspective.

Alligator Alley fancied in competitive heat

The 5f Paddy Power Rockingham Premier Handicap at 15:10 is as tricky to unravel as you'd expect with 18 runners barrelling down the straight course at the Curragh, though I've had Alligator Alley in mind for one of these big sprints for some time now and this could be the day.

Trained in his first two seasons by Joseph O'Brien, the son of Kingman was a winner of a maiden at Navan and a listed race at York as a juvenile but found things more difficult in his second season when making just a handful of starts.

Wind surgery and a gelding operation ensued, and he was then transferred into the care of David O'Meara where he started out with an encouraging effort at Wolverhampton in March, finishing third to all-weather specialist Tone The Barone.

He's caught the eye in competitive handicaps a couple of times since then, most notably when fourth to Mr Wagyu at Epsom last time, where he again shaped better than the bare result.

If he can recapture that useful juvenile form, he could prove a well-handicapped horse off 92, though obviously will need things to drop right in a race as trappy as this.

With enhanced place terms on offer on the Sportsbook, the 13.012/1 looks well worth taking, and I'd be hopeful he can make the frame at the very least.

HMS Seahorse to set sail

Speaking of potentially well-handicapped horses, HMS Seahorse could be underestimated from a mark of 82 in the 1m 4f Premier Handicap at 16:20.

As with Alligator Alley, HMS Seahorse was trained by an O'Brien for his first two seasons - Aidan this time - and failed to get off the mark in five attempts, though did run well enough to be second on a couple of them.

A 24,000-guineas switch to Paul Nolan took place last September and the son of Galileo quickly developed into a useful hurdler for his new yard, placed on his first two runs over timber before getting off the mark at Fairyhouse in February.

He then took his form to an even better level when finishing fourth to Brazil in the Boodles at Cheltenham, where he shaped even better than the bare result having been forced to race widest of all from the start.

He concluded his first season over timber with a third to Vauban Grade 1 Ballymore Champion 4-y-o Hurdle at Punchestown, understandably no match for that high-class opponent but acquitting himself well nonetheless.

Clearly a talent over hurdles, his mark of 132 in that sphere compares favourably with the perch he currently races off on the flat, and the belief is he could still be open to some improvement as he goes handicapping for the first time on the level.

Recommended bets

Mark's P/L (Not including Saturday)

Staked: 215
Returns: 284.89
P/L: +69.89


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