Irish Champions Weekend – Saturday Betting Preview

What a way to finish a Saturday. Five Group races in Ireland on Day 1 of a superb weekend of Racing.

4:00 Willis Towers Watson Champions Juvenile Stakes (Group 3) (Inner Track) 1m

Only 5 runners in our first Group offering of the day and we think we can rule out Percy and Landfall on the basis that they simply can’t improve enough on what we have seen to win a race of this nature. Radio Silence has a achieved the most of the remaining three and his 2 lengths second to Churchill was threatening at times and it remains to be seen where the O’Brien horse, his conqueror, sits in their pecking order. On the evidence of the betting it seems Douglas Macarthur is at the forefront. For all that he only won a Maiden last time out it was Course and Distance and he did it very easily.

Firey Speech also looked impressive but he would need to improve again quite a lot to take a hand in this race. It’s hard to see past the favourite as the stable and money seem to be talking. Best not to ignore it.

4 units win Douglas Macarthur

5:05 KPMG Enterprise Stakes (Group 3) (Inner Track) 1m4f

Three year olds have dominated this contest over the years and so has Aiden O’Brien. No shocks in the second half of that statement is there. He has three in this race with Tree of Knowledge the probable pace maker. US Army Ranger has the best form this year with his second to Harzand in the Derby but his last time out performance was lack lustre. That trip was on the short side for him and if he is being prepared form an Autumn campaign that takes in this race and the Breeders Cup then he probably is spot on for this. If so he will take all the beating.

If it’s a strong test of stamina then Bondi Beach comes in to the reckoning and should the both of them not fire then Stella Mass will pick up the pieces. At the prices though we have to be with US Army Ranger. He is not flashy. More workman like but he tries hard and those horses are always worth backing.

4 units win US Army Ranger

RaceBets Horse Race Betting from 40 countries5:35 Matron Stakes (Group 1) (Outer Track) 1m

What a good race this is. It’s between four. The obvious contender is Qemah who has disposed of everyone in both the UK and France and she looks the most solid option in all conditions with trainer Jean Claude Rouget and jockey Gregory Benoist having it off in all grades this year. Persuasive is on a real upward curve for John Gosden and puts her unbeaten record on the line after a career best last time out when winning at Sandown on good to soft ground. She may improve again and if she does she is in the mix.

Jet Setting is one of the only horses to have lowered Minding’s colours this year and needs to be respected if the ground comes up soft and should it not Alice Springs will feature. She needs good ground to give of her best. It’s not original but they all have Qemah to beat and if there is an upset it could come from Persuasive.

4 units win Qemah

6:10 Boomerang Stakes (Group 2) (Outer Track) 1m

Custom Cut, the 2015 winner doesn’t look the same horse this year and whilst we have followed him through hell and high water we have decided, enough is enough. For that reason he may well go in but we don’t think so. Jim Bolger’s Tribal Beat is going the right way and he looks, profile wise, a bit like Persuasive in the last race. Possible that he might win but he also needs to improve again to match some of the others. Gordon Lord Byron has been brilliant but a mile stretches him at this level.

Hit it a Bomb is the most interesting runner after his Keenland success last year but its more likely he has been prepped for another shot at a big one in America and that leaves us with Awtaad. We genuinely thought he would beat the Ghurka at Goodwood but the suggestion is that the quick ground there was against him. Today’s ground could be perfect for the horse that on paper is currently the best in the race. We will forgive him his “inglorious Goodwood”.

4 units win Awtaad

6:45 Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) (Outer Track) 1m2f

Anyone who misses this race or doesn’t have a bet on it really doesn’t like racing. This is the best race of 2016 so far. What a list of runners. To get it down to just a few has been hard but for reasons around ability, ground and trip these have been selected. Harzand, so good when winning at Epsom and then almost as good when delivering the Irish equivalent. Is it the 12 furlongs that’s important in which case Edediyn, his pace maker has an important job.

Found was at her best this year when losing narrowly at Royal Ascot over this trip and that surely brings My Dream Boat in to the reckoning or was that just a fluke? Either way it’s probable these two won’t be quite good enough. The same applies to Sir Isaac Newton, admirable though he is. Success days is similar in this class and might just be found wanting for which the same can be said of Almanzor. The shorter list revolves around four horses.

Hawkbill, who we think didn’t like the quick ground at York and will get back to his best on a softer surface, Highland Reel who was so impressive when just behind the Arc Favourite, Postponed and the French Raider New Bay who has again been brought along with the Arc in mind by Andre Fabre.

Finally there is Minding who has been amazing this year and her weight allowance for sex and age, as well as the best pilot in the world, Ryan Moore, may just be the tipping point. It’s a fascinating and fabulous puzzle. Minding seems too short at 5/2 and it could mean there is real value in one or two others. So let’s take her on with two who we don’t think can be out of the frame. Either way racing is the winner and a great way to finish a Saturday.

1 unit e/w Hawbill | 1 unit e/w Highland Reel


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