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Horse Racing Preview – Curragh 25/03/2023

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1:40 – Alkumait Standing at Capital Stallions Irish EBF Maiden

A lot of guesswork involved here as the new 2-year-old season gets underway. 11 will go to post on ground that is forecast the be on the deep side and it will most likely pay to look for horses who are likely to handle those conditions.

A tentative selection would be for EXPECTO. Jim Bolger is very capable of readying a newcomer and made a decent start to last season with his string and on paper this filly looks the part. Although she cost just €8,000, she is by Profitable, who was precocious 2-year-old and won at Royal Ascot on Soft ground, whilst her dam also won as a Juvenile on Soft at Goodwood. Drawn in stall 4, she makes some appeal on paper at least.

2:15 – DMG Media Handicap

Although he finished 7th at Dundalk last time, the winner of this race 12-months ago, LAUGH A MINUTE makes a lot of appeal here.

He won last year’s race after a similar “pipe opener” at Dundalk and he has managed to get his head in front on his first start on the turf in each of the last 3 seasons. He will be able to handle the softer conditions and runs here on a mark of 88, fully 7lbs lower than when winning this race last year and looks a solid each-way bet.

2:50 – Cavalor Equine Nutrition Fillies & Mares Maiden

There is a lot of potential on show here but several of these came close before ultimately disappointing last season, so this looks like a good opportunity for BOLD AS LOVE.

Donnacha O’Brien’s filly made a pleasing start to her career when 2nd to Tarawa in a maiden here in October despite dwelling at the start. She wore a hood that day, but it has now been dispensed with which would suggest she has matured over the winter and as a daughter of Deep impact, the softer conditions should allow her to use her stamina to good effect. She holds an entry for the Irish 1,000 Guineas and if she is to realize those ambitions for her connections then she should really be winning a maiden like this.

3:57 – Lodge Park Stud Irish EBF Park Express Stakes

There will be 10 fillies heading to post for the first pattern race of the new Irish turf season and is quite difficult to rule any of them out in what looks to be a very open contest. Based on the official ratings, Agartha and Insinuendo have achieved the most, but neither of them look like they will relish the forecast Heavy ground at the Curragh and with both of them likely to have bigger targets in the future, they could well be worth taking on.

We know where we are with the older Fillies and Mares, but the same cannot be said for the pair of 3-year-olds at the bottom of the weights and in receipt of over a stone from their elders, this could be a good opportunity for both to add some Black Type to their CVs. Since its inception in 2003, there have been 9 three-year-old winners of this race and at the weights, both appear to have something in hand. Aiden O’Brien has won this race last season with Mother Earth, so Delightful deserves respect, but it is the other 3-year-old Filly who appeals more to our team.

Jim Bolger has won this race 4 times and he looks to have found a good opportunity to add to that haul with COMHRA. She made a pleasing debut here last May before winning on her 2nd start in a maiden at Roscommon a week later. She followed that with a fine 2nd behind subsequent Breeders Cup winner Meditate in the Coolmore Stud Sprint stakes at Naas. Incredibly, that effort, which is arguably one of the strongest pieces of form in this field, was her 3rd start in just 13-days and so we can probably forgive her 2 subsequent runs when she looked like a Filly who needed a rest. She returns here in a race that looks open to her and with so much weight being received from most of her rivals, she could be dangerous to overlook.

4:32 – Goff’s London Sale C&G Maiden

This looks like it could be a maiden to follow in the coming weeks and there are several newcomers who look the part on paper, but they will need to be smart to get the better of BROADHURST.

A €620,000 purchase, he made a pleasing debut when 2nd at Navan on his debut in May. He recorded an RPR of 86 for that run, which stands him apart amongst those with experience in this race. Although the absence is a slight concern, he looked like a Colt who would be better as a 3-year-old and this Irish 2,000 Guineas entrant could get the champion trainer off to a fast start for the new season.

5:07 – Westgrove Hotel Handicap

Winning form is in short supply here despite the big field, so it looks like it is worth chancing MORNING APPROACH to return to form.

She started last season with a string of good efforts which culminated in a win at Leopardstown in June and is back to down to the same mark that she won off in that race. She ended last season like a Mare who needed a rest, but she has had 182-day break which should have freshened her up and she should be competitive in conditions she will handle.

5:37 – Live Music after Racing at McDonnells Bar Newbridge Handicap

A difficult handicap to the end the card but SUPER CUB appeals most. Although he hasn’t won a race since switching to Denis Hogan, he has run several good races including when 5th at the Galway Festival in July on Soft ground.

That run was the only time that he has encountered softer conditions, but he appeared to handle it well and has the size and frame to cope with a stamina test. He returned from a 161-day break when he finished 8th at Dundalk earlier this month, but he was only beaten by 6-lengths and that should have put him spot on for this return to Turf. The Tongue-tie is applied for the first time, and he should be involved in the finish if building on his comeback effort.

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