Gary O’Brien: My selections for Sunday at Curragh


Gary O’Brien: My selections for Sunday at Curragh

Gary O’Brien weekend tips

The Irish horse racing broadcaster has four bets from the card at Curragh on Sunday.


A disappointing turnout for this additional race and SOLDIER’S EMPIRE looks to have a good chance of adding to his sole previous success. The Bated Breath colt has a bit of ground to make up on Sharinay, who is very much respected, based on a clash at Naas last month but my selection was making his seasonal debut there and didn’t have the clearest of runs late on. He is 2lb better off here and has since run well to be third in a valuable contest at Gowran Park, where a bad draw didn’t help his cause.



A rematch between the Epsom second and third, and AMBIENTE FRIENDLY is taken to confirm his superiority over Los Angeles. James Fanshawe’s stable star lost little in going down by 2 3/4 lengths to City Of Troy at the beginning of the month, and though the latter’s stable-companion didn’t help his chance by misbehaving beforehand it is nevertheless difficult to see him overturning a 3 1/4 length deficit. Ambiente Friendly had previously shown a tremendous turn of foot to slam subsequent Queens Vase hero Illinois – whose juvenile form suggested there is little between himself and Los Angeles – in the Lingfield Derby Trial and the anticipated strongly run race should hold no fears for him. The potential fly in the ointment is Matsuri, who hails from a powerful yard that has plenty of good horses to compare him with and essentially falls into the ‘could be anything’ category after a facile success on his reappearance.



I have a personal interest here courtesy of Benavente, who has been a smashing horse to be involved with since my co-owner Brian Sheerin picked him up out of a claimer around this time last year. His best form to date has come on synthetic surfaces but his latest effort at today’s venue was encouraging, and granted a good pace to aim at I would be optimistic of another big run. State Actor and Cheers Again, first and third in a premier handicap over course and distance on Guineas weekend, are feared most along with Johnny Murtagh’s lightly-raced Shayzann.



Plenty of these fillies come here in good form, including Kayhana, whose second to State Actor on her seasonal bow is put to the test in the preceding event. She remains relatively unexposed after just seven starts and could easily shrug off a 3lb rise but preference on this occasion is for GUNZBURG. Placed in Group 2 company at this fixture as a juvenile when trained by Paddy Twomey, she lost her way a little afterwards but there has been definite promise in her two starts this term for new handler Gavin Cromwell. She did particularly well to get so close when third to Follow Me (whose subsequent Royal Ascot flop was surely too bad to be true) after meeting interference here last time and another bold showing looks on the cards now. Hat-trick seeking Dance Night Andday may be best of the rest.

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