By Chris Wilson
Another packed afternoon on Racing TV this Saturday features the first day of the Irish turf Flat season at The Curragh – plus strong jumps action from Kelso and Newbury, not to mention Dubai World Cup night.
Here, we consider five horses that have the potential to make this weekend’s racing headlines.
2.15 Curragh: DMG Media Handicap.
The popular eight-year-old looked set for a stellar season when he flew home in this race last year. But, despite having occasionally flickered with intent, Laugh A Minute could not add to his winning tally from 12 subsequent runs.
Wily Ado McGuinness is, however, unlikely to have had too many sleepless nights about the sprinter’s alleged demise. Laugh A Minute is, after all, now 7lb lower in the weights than when he won this five-furlong handicap by a length and a half 12 months ago.
Was a repeat bid the grand plan all along? You would not put it past McGuinness to have the last laugh.
2.25 Kelso: Schloss Roxburghe Hotel Handicap Hurdle. Odds: 7-2
A season of frustration was finally consigned to the archives at Wetherby last month when the six-year-old landed a three-mile handicap hurdle a little handier than the length margin might suggest.
Jet Legs had previously finished second on his last three outings and yet still won in West Yorkshire with any amount left within the locker.
Martin Todhunter’s inmate creeps in at the foot of the weights following a 5lb rise but, intriguingly, excellent claimer Patrick Wadge rides for the first time and offsets that burden.
In-form Wadge could have a good day at Kelso as Autumn Return (3.00) and Mighty Thunder (3.35) hold solid claims in two of the other big races on the card.
3.57 Curragh: Lodge Park Stud Irish EBF Park Express Stakes.
A watching brief is often advised with Aidan O’Brien’s runners at this time of the year, but he won this Group Three with Mother Earth 12 months ago and has another fascinating contender this season.
Delightful, a sister to three Classic-winning fillies, hardly ripped up too many giant oaks on her first three starts as a juvenile. She then raced too freely in a fillies’ nursery at Leopardstown, but nonetheless showed plenty of fortitude under pressure to score by three-quarters of a length.
The three-year-old Galileo filly gets weight from all but one of her nine rivals and really ought to put up a big show to keep alive Classic aspirations.
4.25 Newbury: Newbury Colleagues Celebration Of Business Handicap Chase.
A small back-end-of-the-card handicap chase hardly quickens the pulse, but it must surely mean an awful lot to Matt and Stan Sheppard.
The likeable trainer-and-jockey combination do well with their small team in Herefordshire – most notably this season with the hat-trick-seeking Not Available.
Owned by Sheppard’s biggest supporter, Tony Scrivin, the eight-year-old gelding now chases a significant treble at Newbury following pleasing displays at Wincanton and Chepstow.
Not Available’s most recent success in Monmouthshire was particularly encouraging as he jumped for fun en route to a clinical defeat of solid yardstick Vision Des Flos.
A 4lb rise in the weights is hardly the end of the world in a race that might not take an awful lot of winning.
4.35 Curragh: Paddy Power Irish Lincolnshire. Odds: 6-1
It might sound as implausible as the mangled nonsense spewed forth at this week’s privileges committee, but a UK trainer has an ante-post favourite in a big race in Ireland.
One might be forgiven for thinking there is a typo in there somewhere, such is the Irish’s dominance under both codes these days.
But, make no mistake, British raider Totally Charming sits proudly atop the Irish Lincolnshire market as he strives to earn connections a cool €59,000.
George Boughey’s five-year-old is a worthy favourite, too, having won three big handicaps last season – including on his last start in heavy ground at Doncaster. Boughey has also recruited a certain Colin Keane for the gig, which is quite some statement of intent.
We have teamed up with Aintree to give away two tickets for Randox Grand National day (Saturday 15th April) plus a 50" television AND a one-year Racing TV subscription. Current Racing TV members are welcome to enter. Click here for more details.
Select any odd to add a bet