Updated 10:36 - all selections online.
Churchill towers above his rivals for this afternoon’s Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas and should complete the Newmarket/Curragh double but second place is very much up for grabs and GLASTONBURY SONG looks the value option in the “two chances” market.
Trainer Ger Lyons is certainly not one for tilting at windmills and has already compared his charge favourably to Endless Drama, who he sent out to chase home Gleneagles in the 2015 renewal.
The son of Casamento, successful in a Dundalk maiden on his only start as a juvenile, put a disappointing reappearance effort in Leopardstown’s 2000 Guineas Trial behind him when defeating the useful Asking in a conditions event on his return to the polytrack circuit just over a month ago.
That form obviously still leaves him with a bit to find but he is officially rated the equal of joint second-favourite Irishcorrespondent so it is difficult to fathom why he is such a big price in comparison.
Lyons also saddles an interesting runner in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes, and again there is a strong case to be argued for his representative WOULD BE KING being too big a price at 28/1.
A strongly-supported 3/1 favourite for what is likely to turn out an above-average maiden at today’s venue a fortnight ago, the Lethal Force colt just took a shade too long to hit top gear and ultimately had to settle for third behind the well-touted winner Beckford.
He is sure to improve significantly for the experience, and almost certainly has a better chance of bustling up market leaders Brother Bear and Aqabah than the betting suggests.
Michael Halford is another trainer set for a potentially big weekend, and while GOLDEN PEARL isn’t one of his higher-profile runners she might be worth risking in the 6f handicap at 2.25.
Shane Foley’s mount gave the impression she could be set for a rewarding campaign when an eye-catching sixth in a fair contest at Naas on her seasonal bow six weeks ago only to bomb out when made favourite at Cork eight days later.
However that latest effort is easy enough to forgive as she was drawn well away from the eventual principals and was eased when her chance had gone, and while stall four might not be ideal here at this morning odds she deserves another chance.
Gary's Best Bets (scale 1-5 points):
1pt win GOLDEN PEARL (22-1 Stan James, 20-1 general)
1pt win WOULD BE KING (25-1 bet365, Betfred, BetVictor)
4.10 CURRAGH - BETTING WITHOUT CHURCHILL
1pt each-way GLASTONBURY SONG (12-1 Betfair, Paddy Power)
*BOG = Best Odds Guaranteed