Our racing expert likes the look of a trio of runners at Nottingham.
This afternoon’s Irish 1000 Guineas at the the Curragh (1.55pm) looks and open-and-shut case with Aidan O’Brien’s MINDING a more then able substitute for stablemate Ballydoyle, who was ruled out of the race in the week due to a negative blood test.
But we’re not going to get rich backing here at a best-priced 4/11 with Coral, and the same stable looks to have the other Group 1 race in the card – the Tattersalls Gold Cup (3.40pm) – wrapped up too with FOUND no bigger than 8/11 to follow up her smooth success in the Mooresbridge Stakes last time. Fascinating Rock somehow managed to beat her last year on Champions’ Day and reopposes here, but it should be a different story this time around.
The Minding-Found double pays around 5/4 with Sky Bet.
There are more rewarding odds to be found, though, in Britain and John Mackie’s HURRY HOME POPPA is a very backable 7/2 for the division two of the 1m6f handicap at Nottingham (3.25pm). The six-year-old has a good record at the track – form figures read 132233, with the win coming over this trip – and he should be spot on for this after keeping on well into third in a race over track and trip on his reappearance.
That gives him a fitness edge over his main market rival Atavan and, while raised 1lb for his latest effort, he is just 2lb higher than his last winning mark. Joe Fanning, who has won on him previously, keeps the ride and the stable form is another positive with a winner and a couple of seconds (one at 16/1) in the last fortnight, so everything is in place for a big run.
The Kevin Ryan-trained LEXINGTON ABBEY also likes the Midlands venue and is bidding to win here for the fifth time in the 5f handicap run later on the card (4.35pm). The handicapper has left him on the same mark after he won a conditions stakes over track and trip on his reappearance and he should confirm his superiority over the third Silvanus, despite the worse terms. There are some seriously fast horse in opposition last, which should ensure the fast pace he needs over this trip, and the recent rain is a help too as he doesn’t like it too fast. He can go in again before running in some of the big sprint handicaps later this season.
Kim Bailey is better known as a trainer of jumpers but he’s had three Flat winners in 2016 from just four runners, albeit all on the all-weather, and his NAM HAI can deliver on turf in division one of the 1m6f handicap (2.50pm). The five-year-old tried his luck hurdling over the winter and managed a couple of placed efforts in novice company, but it was his latest staying on third on the level at Goodwood that marks him out as a bet here. That was a big step up on previous efforts and off the same mark here he must go close, especially as there are question marks over several of his rivals