Our Irish Eyes column is back with the best bets for Gowran and Newmarket this afternoon.
Dermot Weld provided this column with a winning nap and next best last Sunday at Gowran (11/4 & 5/2) and he again provides our best bet this afternoon.
The once-race Tested runs in the opening seven furlong fillies' race. She is the most inexperienced runner in the field today, having had just one race as a juvenile when she appeared at The Curragh in late September. She looked like a filly that had lots of maturing and filling out to do in the parade ring and she displayed plenty of signs of greenness, no more so than in the race itself where she was all at sea for a while before getting the hang of things.
However, when the penny dropped she picked up in the style of a very good horse to go away from them for an authoritative win. The form of the race has held up well since, in the context of what she takes on today, with four of the next seven home behind her that day having won subsequently.
She has been working well enough at home to suggest she is up to winning races at a higher than this level today and the Irish 1000 Guineas is on the agenda for her, should all go to plan.
Stable jockey Pat Smullen is serving a two-day suspension (today and tomorrow) for careless riding on Hellenistic at Dundalk last month but the fact that Leigh Roche takes an additional three pounds off her back today merely adds to her appeal. Early prices of 4/5 with Skybet appear more than generous in this instance as on form, she is likely to go off much shorter.
Upper Silesian gets the next best vote in the concluding maiden. She has some very good form at two, particularly her second start when she ran fourth at Leopardstown to subsequent Group Three scorer My Titania. The second horse that day, Afternoon Stars was a most impressive winner at Limerick last week whilst the third Lahinch Classics won when very well supported at Dundalk last month.
Upper Silesian went on from that Leopardstown run to finish third behind subsequent Group Three Killuvullan Stakes winner Craftsman before running second (admittedly well beaten) behind Balansiya at Leopardstown. Balansiya came out and ran second in the Group Three 1000 Guineas trail on her only start to-date this year so Upper Silesian's form has a rock-solid look to it and it suggests she can win one of these at her leisure.
The only real blot on her copybook came on her last start at Cork where she finished second, beaten 23 lengths behind a very well-backed Dermot Weld newcomer. You would have to give her another chance here today however as the ground was heavy that day and Weld's filly is undoubtedly also stakes class.
Connections must feel that the application of first-time blinkers that day were counterproductive and they have been taken off again today. There are horses to beat here, the Ger Lyons-trained Crafted Mastery being the obvious danger with his trainer being in such devastating form recently, however on all known form, Upper Silesian should draw.
Ihtimal gets the each-way vote in the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Saeed Bin Suroor's filly has loads of experience on her side having raced six times as a juvenile and twice at three in Dubai.
At two, she first came to everyones attention when running the colts close in the Chesham at Royal Ascot, despite a compromised run. She continued her progress to bag a Group Three and then a Group Two (Sweet Solera and the May Hill) before running today's favorite Rizeena to two lengths when the pair finished behind the ill-fated Chriselliam in the Group One Fillies Mile.
Over the winter, she went to Dubai where she raced twice in February for two impressive wins in the UAE 1000 Guineas and the UAE Oaks. Despite their classic titles, they are in fact a mere Listed and Group Three race respectively, however there is no denying the fact that she treated her rivals with utter distain and won terribly easily on both occasions.
Her win over the 1m 1 1/2f Oaks trip means she is a certainty to see out today's Rowley Mile, unlike some of her rivals. In fact after that win, there were talks of aiming her at the UAE Derby against the colts on Dubai World Cup night but connections were so pleased with how she has trained on, they decided to dump those plans and come back to Newmarket for what is a more prestigious Classic.
Given she finished one place behind the favourite Rizeena when they last met and the fact the she is available at double-figure odds, it's not inconceivable to think she can reverse the form today.
After all, Night Of Thunder reversed a much bigger deficit yesterday, turing around the form with Kingman by five lengths and Ihtimal only has to find two! Her home work suggests she should be involved in the shake up this afternoon and she get the each-way vote today.