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Raider Belardo the value option behind short-priced Gleneagles





When a trainer sends a horse over from Britain to Ireland for a race, it's always worth a second look as you have to assume it has a reasonable chance of winning or placing to help recoup some of the costs associated with travelling.

That said, they tend to be over backed and it can be hard to find one at a good price - so it can be difficult to make money from raiders as a punter. This afternoon's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (3.20 Curragh) is very interesting from that point of view as five of the last ten winners of the contest came from overseas.

But each of the five domestic winners all came from Ballydoyle so in truth, it's simply been a battle between the raiders and Aidan O'Brien. If the market has called it correctly, O'Brien's Gleneagles (4/9) has a 70% chance of winning and it's hard enough to argue with that when you watch the re-runs of his victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

It wasn't exactly a vintage renewal of that race but he asserted himself extremely well and he's surely the best three-year-old at this distance in training. At the prices, there's not much point in having a bet on the favourite but the fact that Gleneagles is so short means there could be some good each-way value elsewhere.

In particular, I'm interested in Roger Varian's Belardo, which trades around 10/1 at the time of writing. Having had an up-and-down season as a two-year-old, he signed off last term by winning the Group One Dewhurst at Newmarket in October and while that race also wasn't a vintage renewal, it was a quite significant improvement in form.

Unfortunately, he couldn't follow up when making his first start of the season in the Greenham and finished well down the field, but his trainer believes that the firm ground at Newbury played a part in the below-par seasonal debut. With the Curragh expected to be good to yielding, we'll almost certainly see a big improvement and Varian has claimed that his work at home has been to a very high standard. The headgear which was present when he won the Greenham makes a welcome return and the step up to a mile will also aid his cause.

While it will be hard very hard to beat Gleneagles, he can still make the trip across the Irish Sea worthwhile by finishing in the money at a nice price.

Fellow raider Ivawood also has claims and should go off in the region of 5/1. Although third to Gleneagles in the Guineas at Newmarket, he fared best of those which raced in the middle of the course and perhaps he would have finished a little closer had the race panned out differently.

In tomorrow's Irish 1,000 Guineas, Aidan O'Brien's Found is likely to go off as a short priced favourite but consider backing Pleascach at 7/1 or thereabouts. A daughter of Teofilo, she's progressing with every race and has multiple big-race entries later on this season.

Each Way

IT looks like Little Lady Katie will go off as the 20/1 outsider in the Betfred Mobile Silver Bowl Handicap (2.35 Haydock) but she's a better filly that those odds suggest and I reckon she may just land a place.

She went up half a stone to 82 for winning a nursery at Newmarket in October but has been eased ever so slightly following her seventh place in a competitive handicap at York this month which, on the face of it, seems disappointing.

I'm willing to forgive her latest run though, as she was slow off the pace which was far from ideal, and spent most of the race playing catch-up.

Today's selections

2.35 Haydock: Little Lady Katie (e/w)

2.45 Curragh: Gordon Lord Byron

3.20 Curragh: Belardo (e/w)

3.45 Haydock: Take Cover

3.55 Curragh: Brooch

3.55 Curragh: Pleascach (Sunday)

Do the double


Betting on football can be a tricky business at the end of the season and certain teams have a lot more to play for than others.

Newcastle are are not yet in the clear but odds of 3/4 to beat WEST HAM are far too short considering how often they’ve lost lately. Back the Hammers to win or draw tomorrow at 11/10.


WITH three wins in as many races, the Dermot Weld trained BROOCH hasn’t put a foot wrong so far and the four-year-old add to that tally by taking the Group Two Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh (3.55).

She was last seen when readily winning a Group Three at Gowran back in September and with improvement at home likely over the winter likely, she looks good value bet at 13/8

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