Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Unexposed O'Brien stayer can star at the Curragh

Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Can Aidan O'Brien land the 2m handicap on Sunday?

Alan Dudman looks forward to a super card at the Curragh on Sunday, and he has bets for the Group races and one in a staying handicap for Aidan O'Brien....

"Il Paradiso is lightly raced and has never stretched out to today's 2m trip, but his stamina was clearly evident when he picked up his maiden victory at Leopardstown over 1m4f in May."

Back Il Paradiso @ 4.507/2 in the 17:30 at the Curragh

Plenty of speed should suit Hills' contenders

The Group 3 Sapphire Stakes at 15:10 sees a strong UK challenge - and it's not a surprise that King's Stand third Soldier's Call was the 9/4 favourite on the Sportsbook last night. He was very quickly away at Ascot with plenty of brazen speed - and if it's speed you want, there are some seriously fast horses in this line-up.

One of the quickest on the scene is the evergreen 6yo El Astronaute. And he is rapid.

The 5.04/1 price offers up the chance to play a bit of back to lay betting with him, and he is arguably better than ever with a couple of stellar "from the front" victories in Ireland from his last two starts over course and distance including the Rockingham. He also won the Midsummer Sprint at Cork last month.

With the Curragh very much a track made for those that race handy these days, it's hard to get away from him to make all and lift this prize.

Yesterday on the card, not many came from off the pace to win. Which offers a bit of a poser regarding Garrus.

Charlie Hills is double-handed with Equilateral also, but we'll touch on him shortly. With the way Garrus shaped in the Group 3 at Sandown last time, chasing a bundle of speed hoping to pick them off, it could be entirely feasible that the run of the race could suit. However, can he do it at a track that makes it difficult to come from behind?

His price is 6/1, whilst his stablemate Equilateral was chalked up at 4/1. Equilateral is the sort of horse that probably works like a dream at home with such natural ability. However, and there's a but coming, his record at Group 3 level now stands at 24448.

His effort in the Palace House at Newmarket this season was a snapshot of the best and the most frustrating side to him. He didn't get away very quickly then, but he immediately made up the ground and latched onto El Astronaute over the far side and was tanking through the race like a dream.

He possibly went too soon as he was picked off by Mabs Cross. A strongly run 5f on good to firm ground suits, but he is a horse who should have a stack more victories next to his name.

I am quite tempted to take him on in the run, with evidence this season of three short price in-play defeats at 1.23, 1.26 and 2.54.

He'll likely travel far better than Garrus, but I liked the way that horse shaped at Sandown, and that's enough to make him the bet.

O'Brien's Red Tea can add to her Curragh win tally

The Group 2 Fillies and Mares Kilboy Estate revolved around the Duke Of Cambridge winner Move Swiftly. However, she was a non-runner yesterday, and it's thrown the race wide open.

My initial play was Joseph O'Brien's Red Tea, and the trainer has described her as a good addition to his team in his exclusive blog preview.

She has improved too since joining O'Brien and I give her a massive chance in a winnable race. The run which piqued my interest was her third at the Curragh over 1m earlier in the season. The winner that day got a typically cute Frankie Dettori front-running ride, but Red Tea made up lots of ground in the closing stages.

The mare was well down the field with 3f to go and got rousted along. It was only when she switched to the inside that she really motored. She has the extra furlong in this race, and that looks the clincher.

Red Tea has winning form at the track too. She bolted up by nearly five lengths in a 0-100 in May.

I would ignore her effort at Ascot last time in the D of E behind Move Swiftly. She doesn't like that track and the ground was too soft for her. Quick conditions and a bit of extra yardage should see her in a better light, and I am backing her in an open contest.

Paradiso the one to back on handicap debut

There's a cracker in store at 17:30 with the 2m stayers' handicap pulling together the progressive Trossachs and Shakespear'sgalley. The latter for Joseph O'Brien posted a career best when last seen and he's flying through the handicap ranks with three wins this season from 62, 70 and 80. You can click here to read what his trainer has to say.

However, I fear he could play second best to one of his dad's runners here with Il Paradiso.

He makes his handicap debut and could be thrown in off 89 on his 2yo form. He always looked as though he needed a trip in his juvenile races (even in heavy ground). He ran against the likes of Turgenev and Circus Maximus. Indeed, he was a massive eyecatcher on his debut behind the latter last season.

Il Paradiso is lightly raced and has never stretched out to today's 2m trip, but his stamina was clearly evident when he picked up his maiden victory at Leopardstown over 1m4f in May. He was mentioned as St Leger horse then, and he still holds entries in the Irish St Leger and trial race.

The sound surface should suit and he's the most interesting runner on the card for me. Ignore his effort last time in the Irish Derby, we should see the real Il Paradiso on Sunday.

*Click here more the latest betting news and exclusive previews ahead of Sunday's racing


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