16.16 Curragh: Irish Lincolnshire Premier Handicap
A maximum field of 27 is expected for the big race on the opening day of the flat season over at the Curragh & it looks a very open event. Ado McGuinness saddles over a quarter of this field with 7 runners & all of them hold chances. Bowerman won this in 2020 and has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle, although the big question is whether he’s better on the all weather these days. Star Of Cashel has been well touted for this but I just cannot support him coming out of the widest stall in a 27 runner handicap where the runners have to take a turn after around 3 furlongs. Saltonstall is a very likeable type and Colin Keane rides which adds confidence but he’s now an 8 year old & is probably one for the place money rather than the win. Johnny Murtagh runs 2 well fancied runners including the gambled on favourite Raadobarg. He joined Murtagh less than 2 weeks ago from the Roger Varian yard and I suspect the ground may not be ideal for him.
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The one I’m taking is another that has seen good money in recent days & that’s Tazaral. Now a 4 year old, he’s very lightly raced & has the look of an unexposed, improving type. He’s raced 5 times, winning once but I feel there is a lot more to come this year. He finished midfield on debut in a nice looking Leopardstown maiden over a mile & a quarter before hacking up at Gowran Park in a maiden where he came clear of his 9 rivals for an easy-as-you-like 5 length success. He then ran in a hot little 5 runner race where he finished less than 2 lengths 2nd behind the now 111-rated Ottoman Emperor who went on to win the Group 3 Gordon Stakes & then contest the St Leger, albeit where he disappointed. His last 2 starts were in Listed events, firstly when running really well behind Horoscope & then when poor behind Visualisation & some of his rivals today. I’m happy to ignore his last run given the soft ground as he’s much better on better ground. Also, those last 2 runs were against older horses & I think he’ll have strengthened more than most over the winter. His trainer has him entered in a Group 3 in early April & he has a nice middle draw in 15 here. Form over further is another tick in his box in a race where the big field should ensure a fast pace, and the rapidly drying ground will also suit. All in all, a big run is expected in a race where many hold chances.
Back Tazaral (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 15.00 Coral BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
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