Lordan bullish Winter can double up at Curragh
Wayne Lordan can find no holes in Winter ahead of her quest to complete the Newmarket-Curragh Guineas double on Sunday.
The Co Cork rider had his first Classic victory when the filly scored gamely at Newmarket. Ryan Moore is expected to take over on her on Sunday, but Lordan is thrilled nonetheless to have had the chance to ride her last time.
Winter is a shade of odds-on for Sunday's race, with declarations to be announced this morning. She was given universal backing on the Independent.ie 'The Punter's Platform' podcast and Lordan is in full agreement.
He said: "David Wachman always felt she was a filly that would go down that route. She was in those top races as a two-year-old. She improved from two to three. She handled the track well, got a mile really well and is basically a straightforward ride.
"You can have her behind the pace, she will put her head down when she gets to the front and basically ticks all the boxes. You couldn't at the moment pick a negative thing about her: she is simply very straightforward."
Asked how far she might get in terms of yardage, Lordan said: "On the basis of the English Guineas, she would get ten furlongs. It was a quick time, she travelled quite well through the race. If she (got a mile and a half) she could be very good."
Michael Halford believes Rehana goes to Irish Flat racing headquarters in top shape. Second-favourite in the betting to Winter, she scored at Naas recently. He said: "She stepped up nicely at Naas. She did it well and is a very straightforward filly. She is a beautiful mover."
Winter is expected to complete a Guineas double for Aidan O'Brien, with stablemate Churchill long odds-on in the colts' race tomorrow. He will face five rivals, including stablemates Lancaster Bomber and Spirit Of Valor.
Halford's Irishcorrespondent, Thunder Snow and Glastonbury Song also partake, though senior Flat handicapper Garry O'Gorman contends that those other than Churchill have plenty to do on form, saying: "Ratings are more a reflection of those you've run against rather than an expression of intrinsic merit, especially in relation to lightly races horses who have not yet run in Group races.
"Both Irishcorrespondent and Glastonbury Song have achieved a rating of 105, which is very high for horses falling into the latter category. But, in terms of achievement to date notwithstanding, they are over eight lengths behind Churchill."
Curragh chief Derek McGrath has no fears that the under-renovation track will not be sufficient for the crowds this weekend, while he said up to 10mm of rain could fall before the first on Saturday.
Last year's Irish Champion Stakes hero Almanzor is expected to return to the fray next month but Royal Ascot looks to be off the table. Sylvain Vidal, racing manager for owner Ecurie Antonio Caro, said: "Jean-Claude Rouget said he is doing very well.
"The plan at the moment is to run in the Prix la Coupe at Chantilly on June 17 but I don't think he'll be going to Ascot: it will come too soon. Later in the year the plan is to step him up to 12 furlongs and aim him at the Arc."
Meanwhile, the amount of money lost on betting shop gaming machines increased to a high of £1.8bn in the year to September 2016, according to the latest statistics released by the British Gambling Commission.