Irish Strong For Ascot – Weekend Review
It was a domestic Guineas double at the weekend when both Gleneagles and Pleascach recorded impressive performances at the Curragh – in the process giving punters more options for the summer ahead.
Guineas Double For Gleneagles
First up on Saturday was Aidan O’Brien’s, Gleneagles, who emulated former stablemate, Henrythenavigator, in recording the Guineas double, prior to that horse making it three on the spin in winning the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, which is where Gleneagles is heading.
There is a chance Gleneagles may go to Epsom, but his breeding doesn’t inspire confidence, so it’s hardly surprising to see him being backed for Ascot at 4/7.
Not that the St James will be a penalty kick, as he is likely to lock horns once more with Endless Drama, who was under 1l behind Gleneagles on Saturday.
Ger Lyons’ colt ran well to get so close to Gleneagles, having been at the back with a few furlongs to go, but finished strongly to hold off Ivawood in third. Endless Drama may be ridden more positively at Ascot, where he is around the 8/1 mark.
Pleasach Targets Oaks
As for the 1,000 Guineas, the Jim Bolger’s decision in running pacemakers for Pleasach proved right, as the 1m2f winner enjoyed the strong pace in bringing out her stamina. The battling qualities showed in beating the favourite, Found, was impressive, especially as the latter was a champion Group 1 juvenile.
Bolger stated afterwards that Pleasach was the best filly he’d trained over 1m4f, hence why she heads straight for the Irish Derby, although Ballydoyle’s, Found, could go for the Epsom Oaks, where she is around the 6/1 mark.
No Stopping Al Kazeem
Elsewhere at the Curragh saw a cracking renewal of the Tattersalls Gold Cup, in which Al Kazeem recorded a second victory in the race, and now heads to Royal Ascot in defence of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Punters were taken by the performance, as Al Kazeem is now 7/1 (from 16’s) to make it back-to-back wins. The Grey Gatsby weakened into fourth, but may have seen too much daylight, and is also 7/1 for Ascot where a bigger field may give him more cover.
While The Grey Gatsby ran in Sunday’s Gold Cup, his 4l conqueror from Dubai in March, Solow, impressed in winning a French Group 1, beating Cirrus Des Aigles over 5l. It’s possible the latter was below par, having lost a shoe, but there was no faulting Solow, who has been cut into 6/4 for Royal Ascot’s, Queen Anne Stakes.
Irish Strong For Ascot
There were also notable victories at the Curragh for Dermot Weld’s, Mustajeeb, in the Greenlands Stakes, who enjoyed the drop to 6f and could make into a top sprinter.
We’ll find out next month where he goes for the Jubilee Stakes as a 7/1 contender.
Another sprinter heading for Ascot honours is his juvenile, Round Two. Unbeaten in two outings having impressed in winning a Listed race by 2l at the Curragh on Saturday, he is popular for the Coventry Stakes at 3/1.
On the subject of sprints, a word goes to Pearl Secret, who won Saturday’s Group 2 Temple Stakes, and is now 16/1 for the King’s Stand Stakes.
*Prices correct at time of publication.