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Irish Guineas Festival Preview – 2023

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Novibet Irish Guineas Festival – The Curragh, 26th-28th May 2023

Racing focuses on the Curragh this weekend for the 3-day Irish Guineas festival. Three weeks on from the Newmarket meeting, we haven’t seen too many clues in the interim period to tell us which horses are likely to emerge as the top milers for the 2023 generation.

The hardest question when approaching this weekend was not which horse will win the race, but rather which horses will actually show up? The early Antepost markets have Chaldean and Tahiyra installed as favourites, which on the evidence of both their runs at Newmarket would look more than fair, but the connections of both horses have implied that there is less than a 50% chance of either turning up and that makes this a particularly difficult puzzle to solve.

The second issue is the ground. At the time of writing (Monday 22nd), the ground was forecast to be good, good to firm in places and with a relatively cool but dry week forecast, that is likely to be the case on Saturday. As a result, we have entirely different conditions to those at Newmarket, where the heavy rain on the Friday and Saturday left us with deeper conditions and as a result, both English Classics turned into a survival of the fittest scenario. Horses either handled to soft conditions or they didn’t, which looked to be especially the case in the 2,000 Guineas.

Can we trust that form? Well, we know from last season that Chaldean does handle quicker ground and he brought a high level of form into the Guineas, despite his unfortunate unseat in the Greenham 2-weeks earlier. If he runs on Saturday he should run his race, but he doesn’t look to be a particularly attractive price and there is no doubt that the drying conditions should bring a lot of his opponents much closer.

The final piece of the puzzle to try and solve is Aidan O’Brien. As you might expect, he has a good record in both Irish Classics, although he hasn’t won the 2,000 since Churchill triumphed in 2017.

Ballydoyle have so many entries in both races at this stage that it is not easy to be confident about any selection in those colours, but O’Brien implied at Naas last weekend that Paddington and Cairo were heading for the Colts race and Meditate and Jackie Oh (who would need to be supplemented) will represent him in the Fillies. With so much uncertainty about which horses will come across from the UK and which Irish horses will come here rather than heading to Epsom or Chantilly in the coming weeks, it would be impossible for our team to have a strong opinion on the 2,000 Guineas, but that is not the case with the Fillies race on Sunday.

Antepost Selection

After her 2nd placed finish in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, Tahiyra is an understandably short price to win the Irish equivalent, but her trainer has already stated that she is likely to miss the race and with a pedigree that points to her stepping up in trip, that isn’t too surprising.

However, her presence in the market does create a decent angle for an each-way bet and we have chosen MEDITATE. If we take Tahiyra out of the form book for a moment, then Meditate becomes a clear form pick from last year’s Juveniles and Aiden O’Brien’s filly is easily forgiven her Newmarket run, where the tough going and an interrupted prep left her with too much to do.

She also raced on the far side of the track, which didn’t look to be the place to be on the Sunday card and the return to better ground, with 3 more weeks of preparation time, should bring her back to her best. The market looks to have overreacted to her Newmarket defeat and she remains a filly with huge potential for 2023. If she returns to her 2022 form, she should be very hard to keep out of the frame on Sunday at the Curragh.

Betting Irish 1000 Guineas – NRNB – 28th May 2023 -Odds Curragh | Novibet

*Prices subject to fluctuation.

Irish Guineas Festival Preview – 2023

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