Roderic worth another punt
On Thursday morning, I had a couple of things to do in the Kildare area, but I was turned away from nearly every road I tried to drive down due to the fact that Queen Elizabeth was in town visiting the Irish National Stud.
This week, the horse she owns and current Derby favourite Carlton House had his odds cut from 2/1 to 13/8 for that race. The son of Street Cry is entitled to be favourite, but 13/8 is too short with two weeks to go and I've decided to get on to the exchanges and click pink (lay) at 2.7.
As an owner, the queen hasn't done too well in the Classic: the closest she's come to winning was with Aureole, which was second way back in 1953.
Interestingly, the last monarch to win the Derby was King Edward VII with Minoru in 1909. While I'm not saying that Carlton House hasn't got serious claims, I'm not so sure he'll handle Epsom as well as he did York and I'm happy to take him on at those prices.
Closer to home, it's worth giving Aidan O'Brien's Roderic O'Connor another chance in the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas at The Curragh today (3.45) following a dismal run in the English version late last month.
Before heading to Newmarket, he had managed second in the Dewhurst behind the awesome Frankel before going on to win the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October.
He didn't get a prep race in before Newmarket and even though this is O'Brien's usual tactic, perhaps it showed on this occasion and he might be one that needs a run.
That said, others might argue that as a late maturing two-year-old, the race may have actually come too soon for him.
Whatever the reason for his flop, he's far from finished yet and today's odds of 3/1 seem a little generous.
The runner-up in the Newmarket classic, Dubawi Gold, will probably go off as favourite here around 7/4, but it's not a particularly strong renewal this year and the race is a bit more open than the betting suggests.
In tomorrow's Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas (4.15), O'Brien's Together could be the one to side with, priced around 7/2. She was a somewhat surprising runner-up in the rather messy Newmarket 1,000 guineas at 33/1 but in fairness, she has good juvenile form under the belt and normally puts in a good battle when her mind is on the job.
The Betfred Silver Bowl Stakes (2.30 Haydock) is a tricky affair but the progressive Sikeeb is worth an each-way punt priced around 8/1.
He went up 7lb for winning a handicap at Newbury last month where he seemed to struggle in the early stages.
As soon as he came off the bridle, however, he got down to business, showing plenty of fight and was only denied on the line by Bahceli. The step-up to a mile had helped his cause and both Crown Counsel and Zain Shamardal, which finished behind him that day, have since gone on to win races.
2.25 Chester: Question Times
2.30 Haydock: Sikeeb (e/w)
3.25 Chester: Tortoni
3.45 Curragh: Roderic O'Connor
7.40 Newbury: Foxtrot Hotel
4.15 Curragh (tomorrow): Together
Antepost: Lay Carlton House for the Derby at 2.7