Finally back at the Curragh! Today is the first official race day at the new Curragh. An expensive project, developed over the last number of years, racing continued at the constructionist side in the meantime.
I didn’t got in those years. Having been a member for a number of years before, I didn’t like the idea of racing to continue during the rebuild. I also didn’t entertain the idea that ticket prices remained static and that no offers were made to existing members during the time.
I may not become a member again, even now that the Curragh is a shiny new place. Prices are simply too high.
Nonetheless I can’t wait to be back today! In fact I hardly could sleep because of excitement and woke early. From photos and videos seen, the new Curragh looks stunning. Here’s hoping the real thing lives up to the promise.
It’s not a day to get carried away betting wise. And my record on Irish races is dismal anyway. I found a few interesting selections, still. So fingers crossed it’ll be a triumphant return to the Curragh of Kildare!
I shall come back with a nice little report and a few snaps tonight.
3.35 Curragh: Group 3 Athasi Stakes, 7f
Hot favourite Happen looks hard to beat if she can improve from a good runner-up performance in the 1000 Guineas trial behind Lady Kaya. Obviously that is the strongest piece of form available, and you would expect her to come on for the run.
However, I strongly believe she will benefit even more from a step up in trip, and that 7 furlongs is plenty sharp enough for her already, particularly if she’d encounter some speedier types.
In truth, there is little in this field to rival her in terms of class. But Dermot Weld’s filly Titanium Sky is clearly the one who could be with further improvement be a big danger.
The grey filly was only seen once last year in a messy Gowran Park maiden where she ran out an excellent 5th given circumstances.
She returned last month at Leopardstown in a 7f maiden which she won in taking style. Always travelling well, she benefited from a strong pace. Nonetheless, it was impresse how she ate up the ground of the leaders in the final two furlongs.
That form already works out well, so the fact Titanium Sky did that so easily suggests she is potentially a Group horse. Dermot Weld said afterwards he certainly hopes to win some blacktype with her, and maybe she can even be an irish 1000 Guineas candidate.
10pts win – Titanium Sky @ 10/1 Coral
4.45 Curragh: 45-70 Handicap, 6f
This looks ultra-competitive, as you would expect for a 30 runner strong field. But in truth only few of these appear in with a fair chance of winning.
No doubt the JOB trained Little Clarinet is a fair favourite. Third up after a break, excellent recent form, she is handicapped to win. However, her overall record is off-putting, given a rather skinny price.
More intriguing at given odds is the rather unexposed Clifftop Dancer. The filly had only five starts to date but certainly returned with a bang on her first run finishing an excellent runner-up at Naas last month behind a supremely well handicapped winner.
If she can repeat that effort, possibly improve just a tiny bit, she’ll be a huge runner today. She ran to a TS rating of 65, so upped by 3lb to 67 gives her every opportunity today as ground and trip should be perfect and the testing finish at the Curragh may be ideal.
5pts win – Clifftop Dancer @ 12/1 MB
5.20 Curragh: Apprentice Handicap, 7f
Fit For Function comes here on the back of an excellent comeback run at Naas in a big field. He finished 5th, tiering in the closing stages.
Stripping fitter for the run, able to run of the same handicap mark, I feel Fit For Function has a huge opportunity today. He’s not that easy to win with, but has ran plenty of credible races in defeat.
As he was an excellent 2nd here at the Curragh over 6 furlongs last summer of a 6lb higher mark than his current 72 rating, which was a follow-up effort after winning at Listowel a few weeks earlier, then over 6.5f of a 74 mark.
Fit For Function looks well handicapped today, based on that and he also has ran four times to TS ratings of 72+ in his career already, two of those performances came only last year and with his recent comeback run still fresh in mind, there is little reason to fear he’s not as good any more.
5pts win – Fit For Function @ 12/1 MB