Monday 22 January 2018

Racing preview: Camelot bids for another classic at the Curragh

CAMELOT already has two Classics in the bag and all eyes will be on him as he bids for another in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

In a complete break with tradition, the authorities have decided to switch the race to Saturday evening so while they may miss out on some media coverage, they will be hoping for a boost in numbers through the turnstiles.

Camelot is a potential history-maker, too, as this impressive colt moves further towards what could be a Triple Crown bid in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster in September, or even a clash with Frankel at some point.

He edged home in the 2000 Guineas but really came into his own when upped to a mile and a half at Epsom, turning in a stunning performance to claim an easy victory under an ice-cool Joseph O'Brien.

O'Brien has pencilled in the Curragh as his next testing ground and it is unlikely there will be too many willing to take him on.

Saturday's traditional showpiece of the Barclays Pretty Polly Stakes now switches to Sunday afternoon with the At The Races Curragh Cup and Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Brownstown Stakes in support.

The three-day John Smith's Northumberland Plate meeting will pack them in at Newcastle with the action kicking off on Thursday with a relatively moderate card.

Things hot up markedly on Friday night with the Listed EBF Hoppings Stakes and the always-competitive Gosforth Park Cup.

Saturday is Plate day, and the 'Pitmen's Derby' - worth some £150,000 in added prize money - will command plenty of betting attention throughout the week.

Luca Cumani's Mount Athos currently tops the weights for the race and there are plenty of eyecatching entries in there including the progressive Calico Cat and Ascot Stakes runner up Al Khawaneej.

Chief supporting contest is the Chipchase Stakes, a six-furlong sprint won by some decent types over the years, including future Group One victor Soldier's Tale for Jeremy Noseda back in 2005.

A big week in the north gets going at Carlisle on Wednesday, where the Lloyd Motor Group Carlisle Bell can be traced back to its first running in the 16th century.

Newmarket host a Friday night-Saturday afternoon meeting on the July course with the second day full of quality and more than a few owners with eligible runners will have their sights on the £150,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-Y-O Cup.

Providing ample interest elsewhere at Headquarters will be the Group Three Criterion Stakes, due to feature the eagerly-awaited return of Harbour Watch, and Listed events in the shape of the Fred Archer Stakes and Empress Stakes.

Fixtures (Flat in capitals)


Tuesday: BEVERLEY, BRIGHTON, NEWBURY (evening), Newton Abbot (evening)

Wednesday: BATH (evening), CARLISLE, KEMPTON (evening), SALISBURY, Worcester




Sunday: SALISBURY, Uttoxeter, WINDSOR

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