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FOLLOWING his non staying effort in the Dante Stakes at York nine days ago, Too Darn Hot is dropped back in trip for the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh this afternoon at 3.35.
We are merely guessing about the quick turnaround and how it may or may not affect him, but he looked at the Knavesmire as though he had retained all of his ability.
You don’t have to be an oracle to conclude that the return to a mile will obviously suit him and it’s just a matter of weighing up his 13 rivals.
I don’t think that Magna Grecia was given the credit he deserved when winning the Newmarket 2,000 Guineas in decisive style. Yes, he may well have been well served by running down the favoured stands’ side of the track, but the way he put the race to bed when asked for his effort by Donnacha O’Brien was impressive and he fairly rattled home once he hit the rising ground to win in fabulous style.
The main problem I have with the son of Invincible Spirit is that he does have quite a knee action and anything bordering on fast ground may well be an inconvenience to him whereas it would suit Too Darn Hot perfectly.
But with these two dominating the market at around the 6/4 mark the value has all but gone and although the winner is likely to come from that pair, the best punting strategy is to have an each-way wager in this first Irish Classic of the season.
I would much prefer to have a play on the Dermot Weld-trained SHELIR. Unbeaten in two career starts, both as a three-year-old, Weld would surely not pitch him in at this level unless he thought the son of Dark Angel could do himself justice.
Yes he has plenty to find on the book, but he took the step up in class from maiden to Listed company very much in his stride when landing the Tetrarch Stakes in superb style from Eclipse Storm and company. Of course a 33/1 shot finishing close up is a bit of a worry, but the selection was well on top at the end of the seventh furlong and looked as though he is very much in need of this eighth and final furlong.
The faster ground shouldn’t prove a problem judged on his action and Weld wouldn’t pitch him in at Group One level unless he thought his charge has a realistic chance of making his mark. So anything around the 16/1 mark would make him a very interesting each-way play against the big two at the top of the market place.
There are plenty of meaty handicaps to get our teeth into at Goodwood, Haydock, York and Chester this afternoon and the one that I am most interested in is the Harry Dunlop-trained PIRATE KING (Nap) in the Haydock opener over an extended two miles at 2.15.
This lightly raced four-year-old had a good blow following his seasonal return at Doncaster over a mile-and-three-quarters and yet the handicapper has very kindly dropped him a pound down to a mark of 85.
A fluid action means the fast ground will be perfect for him unlike some of his market rivals and this step up trip looks sure to suit him with plenty of stamina on the dam’s side.
I have already taken a large chunk of the 5/1 on offer and I reckon he will be well backed on course and could even challenge the hat-trick seeking Eden Rose for market leadership.
The Silver Bowl Handicap at 2.50 for three-year-olds looks as tough a puzzle to solve as ever and the market will be a huge guide to which of these improving youngsters is considered well treated by connections, but I will be hanging my hat on MUNHAMEK who resides right at the bottom of the weights for the shrewd Ivan Furtado.
Beautifully drawn in box No 1, he relished the step up to a mile when outstaying the well regarded Hamish at Thirsk, the third a well beaten two lengths away and that could be underrated form.
I fancy that Awe may want a bit more dig in the ground so the biggest danger could come from the John Gosden-trained Beatboxer who didn’t get home over a mile and quarter in the Newmarket Stakes last time out and is worth another try to show his wind operation has been a success.
Elsewhere, ESCOBAR could go well at an each-way price in the Chester 2.55 now that the handicapper has relented, NEVER DO NOTHING can teach his seniors a lesson in the 5.15, while the best wager at York could come in the form of the veteran SO BELOVED (nb) in the opener at 2.00.
EEH BAH GUM may reverse recent course and distance form with Copper Knight in the five furlong handicap at 3.45, while down at Goodwood have a second look at top-weight AMAZING RED in the staying handicap at 4.20.
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