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2019 Irish Guineas Festival tips - Race-by-race selections for Saturday's second day at the Curragh

Brian Healy 25 May 2019
The 2019 Irish Guineas Festival weekend continues on Saturday with the Irish 2000 Guineas.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every race on the second day of the Irish Guineas Festival meeting on Saturday at the Curragh.

The 2019 Irish Guineas weekend continues into a second day on Saturday, and after the thrills of the opening day on Friday’s evening card, punters can look forward to some top-class racing with the Irish 2000 Guineas being the centrepiece of the Saturday racecard.

There is also Group Two action in support of the Saturday main event, with both the Greenlands Stakes and the Lanwades Stud Stakes on the card alongside some competitive handicap action.

1:50 - Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden (2yo) 5f
2:25 - Heritage Hotel & Spa Handicap (3yo+) 6f
3:00 - Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (Group 2) (4yo+) 6f
3:35 - Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) (3yo) 1m
4:10 - Lanwades Stud Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) (4yo+) 1m
4:45 - FBD Hotels & Resorts Handicap (Premier Handicap) (4yo+) 1m2f
5:20 - New Curragh Handicap (3yo) 1m

On a top quality afternoon of flat racing at the Curragh, Brian Healy takes a race-by-race look at the second day of the Irish Guineas weekend where he has race-by-race selections for all seven of the afternoon’s contests.

1:50 - Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden (2yo) 5f


GLOW WORM (13/2, Bet365) stepped up on a solid debut performance at Naas in April when finishing third behind Peace Charger to find only one too good at Dundalk next time.

Jack Davison’s Epaulette filly was beaten less than one length on that occasion behind Windham Belle, and she ought to remain competitive assuming she can continue her progression returning to turf.

Some potentially useful debutants lie in wait, but her performances and form in her two runs to date give her solid claims and it would be no surprise if she were to find another chunk of improvement to get off the mark at the third attempt.

2:25 - Heritage Hotel & Spa Handicap (3yo+) 6f


MOKHALAD (7/2, Bet365) has traded silver and gold medals in his four outings this term, but the Dubawi gelding can maintain his current good run of form and register another success.

Damien English’s charge has struck both wins at Naas, latterly running out a two lengths’ winner of a big-field handicap from Aleef, and he gave the impression that there was better still to come from the six-year old now he seems to have got his act together.

The handicapper has hit him with an 8lbs rise in the weights following that last success, and in his current frame of mind he is taken to continue his good spell where he can post another big effort as he bids to add another success to his tally.


3:00 - Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (Group 2) (4yo+) 6f


GORDON LORD BYRON (16/1, William Hill, each-way) isn’t the force of old, but Tom Hogan’s Byron gelding remains capable of smart form although it is questionable whether he is still up to this level.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t the strongest of races for the grade, and the veteran is chanced to get back to winning ways.

His last success came in this race back in 2017 where he beat Only Mine, and since that success his form has been fairly patchy although the vast majority of those starts has seen him compete in Listed and Group company.

He managed to bag a pair of bronze medal finishes in Group Three runs last term, and he probably needed his reappearance behind Sergei Prokofiev at Naas in March, finishing 12th of the 15 runners. 

However, he stepped up markedly on that effort to finish only two lengths’ fourth behind Turbine at Cork, and while he probably needs to recapture past glories in order to claim this prize it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him have one last big run in his old legs.

3:35 - Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas (Group 1) (Entire Colts & Fillies) (3yo) 1m


The first and third from the Newmarket Qipco 2000 Guineas lock horns again, with Magna Grecia seeking to confirm the form with Skardu; while Too Darn Hot turns out quicky just nine days after his defeat at York in the Dante.

However, despite conceding race-fitness to that trio, it could be worth chancing on Charlie Hills’ PHOENIX OF SPAIN (14/1, Bet365, each-way) to post a big effort, and the Lope De Vega colt can continue the race-by-race progress he showed last term.

Strictly on juvenile form, he has a bit to find with both Too Darn Hot - who beat the selection in the Champagne Stakes - and Magna Grecia, who got the better of Charlie Hills’ charge in the Vertem Futurity Trophy; but he was hampered in the latter run, otherwise the result might have been different and he appeared to appreciate the stiffer test.

That form is all the stronger now, with the winner of course going on to win the colts’ Classic at Newmarket; while the third, fourth and sixth horses all followed up that Doncaster outing with subsequent wins.

This of course represents no easy task given he makes his reappearance here against proven high-class rivals who have the benefit of a run; but he looks a value proposition at likely double-digit odds to post a big effort, and at an each-way price he may be worth chancing to do well.

4:10 - Lanwades Stud Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) (4yo+) 1m


I CAN FLY (11/8, Coral) won the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown last term, which was one of two wins enjoyed by the Fastnet Rock filly who also made the frame in starts behind Laurens and Roaring Lion at Newmarket and Ascot respectively.

Forgiven her Breeders’ Cup run, Aidan O’Brien’s charge returned to winning form when scoring over Surrounding at Dundalk in March, after which she headed to Meydan although she was disappointing behind Almond Eye in the Dubai Turf.

She ran better than the bare result in the Lockinge Stakes last Saturday, where having sweated up really badly and missing the break, she kept on well late in the day before her effort flattened out. 

Back against her own sex here, she could be hard to beat in this contest assuming this run doesn’t come too soon; this doesn’t look the strongest of races for the grade and every chance she can get back on the scoresheet.

4:45 - FBD Hotels & Resorts Handicap (Premier Handicap) (4yo+) 1m2f


KARAWAAN (10/1, William Hill, each-way) wasn’t able to replicate the performance he delivered when winning on his reappearance and first start for Ger Lyons in the Irish Lincolnshire; but the Sea The Stars gelding could be worth chancing to bounce back.

Formerly with Sir Michael Stoute, he was a winner over this trip at Chelmsford before contesting some strong contests, and he made the frame in two of his subsequent four starts in the wake of that win although he ended his time with Stoute in disappointing fashion.

Although he beat only a handful home last time out, he was only around four lengths adrift of the winner and his finishing position was compromised by being hampered late. That race has since thrown up several subsequent winners, and he could be suited by going back up in trip.

He could be worth chancing to leave that last run behind, and if the return to further helps him recapture his best then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a big run.


5:20 - New Curragh Handicap (3yo) 1m


ISOTOPE (5/1, Ladbrokes) has shown improved form since being stepped up in trip to one mile, finding only Cuban Hope too strong at Dundalk in March and then going one better at Cork latest with a neck defeat of Bodhicitta.

Joseph O’Brien’s Footstepsinthesand colt found plenty for pressure on that occasion, and the third horse home in that race has gone on to win next time out. This will demand more stepping into a stronger contest from 8lbs higher in the weights; but he remains open to further improvement, and he clearly relished the switch to turf last time out. 

The pick of Donncha O’Brien from the yard’s two runners, he could be worth chancing to find the requisite improvement and follow up that last time success.

2019 IRISH GUINEAS FESTIVAL TIPS - DAY TWO SELECTIONS


1:50 - GLOW WORM (13/2, Bet365)

2:25 - MOKHALAD (7/2, Bet365)

3:00 - GORDON LORD BYRON (16/1, William Hilleach-way

3:35 - PHOENIX OF SPAIN (14/1, Bet365, each-way)

4:10 - I CAN FLY (11/8, Coral)

4:45 - KARAWAAN (10/1, William Hill, each-way)

5:20 - ISOTOPE (5/1, Ladbrokes

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2019 Irish Guineas Festival tips - Race-by-race selections for Saturday's second day at the Curragh

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for every race on the second day of the Irish Guineas Festival meeting on Saturday at the Curragh.

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