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Yesterday's gamble on the two 2yo selections didn't pay off, with Skittlebombz running a nice race, until losing to a debutante, and Breeze Easy was green as grass when asked for an effort. Hopefully, today's selections will be better and we can have a few winners for Saturday.
Though this race appears to be competitive, I am quietly confident that READY TO VENTURE will be hard to beat, as I think the return to a much quicker surface will see her in a much better light.
In my opinion, if she came into this race on the back of her third placed finish behind Creative Flair, then she would be clear favourite, easily. It's the doubt that has crept into peoples heads from her most recent performance as to why she is a decent enough price. She encountered soft ground last time at Goodwood, and it clearly was against her, and since then William Haggas has made sure she has not raced on slow ground, as she has recently been withdrawn on two occasions since that race, where the ground was deemed unsuitable for this lightly raced daughter of Kingman. If we look at her form where she finished third to Creative Flair, it has worked out well. Creative Flair has since finished 2nd in a Class 1 Listed, behind Primo Bacio, who is a Group 1 filly in the making, she also finished ahead of recent Group 1 winner, Snow Lantern. Creative Flair then won a Listed race the time after. Ready To Venture was a neck behind Auria. That horse has since won a Listed race, beating Seattle Rock by 2.5 lengths, so Ready To Venture holds that horse on collateral form.
3yo's have won this race 5 times in the last 6 years, so it appears best if you stick with the younger unexposed horses, as they get the weight for age allowances. Back on a quicker surface, I think there is more to come from this filly, especially in a handicap off a mark of 93.
I'm not going to bore you with the QASBAZ form talk that I have put up recently, hopefully he will win today. I do think this race is quite tough, and it will take a big effort to give away the weight to some of these 3yo's, but the form of the run behind Marsabit has worked out very well. The drop in trip shouldn't be an issue, even though he is effective over 8f.
A horse who I've been desperate to back since her Royal Ascot incident is STUNNING BEAUTY. This filly could be so much better than a rating of 96, and it's been frustrating with her recently as she had problems with the stalls at Royal Ascot, where the rug didn't come off which meant she was out the gates late and was pulled up when she eventually came out of the stalls. Since then, she was entered in a race at Hamilton, where I tipped her up. On that day, Hamilton had a terrible incident happen before the start of racing with some of the staff on course, which resulted in the meeting being abandoned. So here we are again today, backing Stunning Beauty, who will hopefully run today (and leave the stalls, fingers crossed).
This filly was very eye-catching as a 3yo, from the two runs we saw from her in England. She beat some good horses, who have franked the form massively since. She beat a filly called Lights On by 7.5 lengths, whilst conceding a penalty. That horse has since won 3x and recently hosed up in a Pontefract Class 1 Listed race by 10 lengths. On debut, Stunning Beauty beat Declaring Love, and like Lights On, she has been progressive ever since, she has won a Listed race, and has been placed in a Group 3. Stunning Beauty was then campaigned in Dubai, and this had the adverse effect that it normally does on Godolphin horses, and it appeared that she hated running over there. She then returned back to England and won off a 99 day break, beating Beat Le Bon, which she was raised 3lbs for. Off a mark of 96 she could be very well treated, and it would be disappointing if there wasn't more to come from this lightly raced filly.
An interesting quote from her trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor: “We have given Stunning Beauty time but last month she started to show her class in the mornings. We may now try to find a Listed race for her over the same trip. We'll take it step by step but by October she could be a Group 1 filly”. That was said after she won on debut last year, so they hold this horse in very high regard in the Bin Suroor yard, and I think they are willing to win a few handicaps before pitching her back up into Class 1 company, as it would be daft not to.
This Fillies' Listed Race has gone to a 3yo in the last four renewals, and seven of the last ten winners have been 3yo's, which is interesting. Golden Pass is probably the strongest contender for the older horses, and will have a really good chance if she is able to progress again from her recent 2nd place finish, but I am sticking to the trend and backing TALBEYAH.
Talbeyah is an interesting runner for Owen Burrows and Ray Dawson, as she takes a step up in trip to 12f. She has only raced over 10f to date, so there are obvious question marks over the trip, but the way she sees out her races over 10f, it doesn't appear to be a problem. I was really impressed with her most recent performance, as she looked in trouble a few furlongs from home, but she stayed on strongly to win on the line, and was going away at the finish. She was giving away 13lbs to the runner-up that day, which was a big ask, but the good thing about that run is that the runner-up has franked the form, which suggests she did very well to concede that weight. The horse back in fourth has also won since.
Though she is by Lope De Vega, and they get a reputation for being better on the slow ground, I think she could be better on a quicker surface. Funnily enough, Lope De Vega's progeny statistics state that his progeny are better on Good To Firm than any other type of ground (15% SR).
This is clearly a tougher race than what she's faced before, but hopefully she'll find the improvement for the step up in trip. The weight for age allowance will be a big help, as she will be getting 11lbs from the older horses, mainly aimed at Golden Pass who looks the main danger. As for the other 3yo's, Abstinence will probably benefit from this longer trip, but she's been kept to the all weather, so I think you can dodge her, and Free Wind has a nice chance as well, but the form of her recent win took a knock.
I can envisage this race turning into a bit of a crawl, and I think that would suit C'EST NO MOUR more than any other horse in the race, and that's why he gets my vote.
I tipped up a horse in C'Est No Mour's recent win, and I was visually impressed with the way he travelled into the race and put it to bed. To my eye, that race was not ran at a great tempo, and C'Est No Mour came swinging and won under hands and heels, and I get the feeling this race could go in a similar fashion. There are plenty in this race that stay further, so in theory you'd think one of them would take the initiative and set a quick pace, but there is literally no pace whatsoever, so hopefully they will go a crawl, and turn into a sprint, which should suit the selection best.
He has been put up 4lbs for the recent win, and I don't think that will be enough to stop the hat-trick from landing for a trainer who places his horses very well, shown by his 36% SR this season.
This race is not ideal for tipping one up, so if you do follow the tips, and don't fancy backing this one, then I can't blame you. This is a competitive sprint handicap at the Curragh, as you'd normally expect from a Saturday card, but I couldn't help myself but feel like SPEAK IN COLOURS has a huge chance if he can bounce back to form.
This horse is very talented on his day, and has been a superb horse for Joseph O'Brien, but at the age of 6 it looks like he might be on the decline. Despite this, this is his first ever run in a handicap, which seems bizarre saying that, as he is a 6yo. He has had 26 of his 29 runs at stakes level, which is incredible, and is a testament to his ability and consistency over the years. I think the drop into handicap company could see him bounce back to form. He has to carry a big weight of 10st, but 5lb will be negated from Mikey Sheehy's 5lb claim, which will be a big help. Even though he is still carrying quite a high weight, it isn't that big of a concern to me as he has won a Class 1 race with 10st 2lbs on his back, and 9st 12lbs on another occasion, so he is used to carrying a heavy weight. Off a mark of 103 (98 in theory), he looks very well handicapped, and the first time blinkers could have a positive effect in sparking a revival for a horse who has yet to find his form this season.
In a big field race like this, they should go a good pace, and that will suit a hold up horse like Speak In Colours who will be running on strongly at the end of the race. My only concern is the fact he might not get a clear run. He is drawn in Stall 2, which means if he breaks slow then he will have a wall of horses to come through, and with quite an inexperienced rider on board, that could spell disaster. However, he is a decent enough price, and is the class horse in the race.
Advised: Each Way
Even though his form isn't extremely strong, I am surprised to see the price of HECTOR DE MARIS as high as it is (7/2 at the time of writing), as Aidan O'Brien has won the last two renewals of this race.
This is a big step up in trip for Hector De Maris, and on pedigree you'd have to be slightly concerned about him staying this trip, but I am putting faith in the master trainer, Aidan O'Brien. Considering he has won this race the last two times it has been run, I think he knows what kind of horse it takes to win, and he will have a strong idea of whether this horse will get this trip or not. Either way, connections must feel he is a strong stayer, and must feel that he is much better than what we've seen, as he has a St Leger entry.
There isn't a great deal of pace in this race, but you'd expect noticeable front runner Effernock Fizz to lead them a merry dance, but I can't imagine he'd want to go quick and make it into a real stamina test, as that would suit Ever Present and Dewcup. I think this could be a muddling race, so hopefully Ryan has his horse positioned closely behind Effernock Fizz, so he can pounce at the right time, rather than being held-up from off the pace, which could allow the leader to kick for home, as he will have an easy time of things in front. The weight for age allowance is massive for this trip at this time of year, which means Hector De Maris will receive 15lbs from every horse in the field, which is obviously a huge advantage.
Although this horse isn't a world beater for O'Brien, he is by no means a rubbish horse. He is rated 98 and has got some decent form behind Layfayette, who ran a nice race at Royal Ascot in the Royal Hunt Cup where he finished 6th.