Great Britain-Ireland Preview: Spot Plays for April 16 and 17

April 14th, 2022

The turf flat season is fully underway in Europe, and this weekend Newbury hosts important trials for the first two Classics of the season, the 2,000 Guineas (G1) and 1,000 Guineas (G1), run on April 30 and May 1, respectively.

Meanwhile, the jumps season isn’t quite done yet, especially in Ireland. There are two Grade 1 jumps races at Fairyhouse on Sunday; there are also three Grade 2 races and the Irish Grand National on Monday, just two weeks away from the biggest event of the Irish jumps calendar, the Punchestown Festival, April 26-30.

Here are some spot plays to consider for Saturday and Sunday in Britain and Ireland.

Newbury, April 16, Race 1: Finest Surprise S. (G3), 1 1/2 miles, 4-year-olds and up

In a handy field of resuming stayers, #1 Ilaraab looks the most likely; he has raced three times at Newbury for two victories, the last being the St. Simon Stakes (G3) Oct. 23. One interesting runner is #6 Thunderous; after not living up to the initial promise that saw him win the Dante Stakes (G2) in 2020, he was gelded in December, and it will be interesting to see if that improves his form.

  • $10 win/$20 place: #1 Ilaraab
  • $4 box exacta: 1, 6

Newbury, April 16, Race 2: Dubai Duty Free Fred Darling S. (G3), 7 furlongs, 3-year-old fillies

One of the last prep races for the 1,000 Guineas, it’s dominated on paper by Godolphin’s #12 Wild Beauty, who thrashed subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies (G1) winner Pizza Bianca in the Natalma Stakes (G1) at Woodbine last September. She later disappointed when fifth in the Fillies' Mile (G1) at Newmarket behind current 1,000 Guineas favorite Inspiral, but she looks the best filly in this race. Her most interesting opponents are #10 Shaara, winner of her only juvenile start, and #6 Jumbly, fourth in the Rockfel S. (G2) last season.

  • $10 win/$20 place: #12 Wild Beauty
  • $2 trifecta: 12 with 6, 10 with 6, 10

Newbury, April 16, Race 3: Greenham S. (G3), 7 furlongs, 3-year-olds

An interesting trial for the 2,000 Guineas. The most accomplished horses are the dual Group 1 winners #1 Angel Bleu and #5 Perfect Power. Angel Bleu won both his Group 1s in France on wet tracks and would be a great chance if the ground is soft, but with drier ground expected, it looks better for Perfect Power, provided he stays 7 furlongs.

  • $10 win/$20 place: #5 Perfect Power

Fairyhouse, April 17, Race 3: Mares Novice Hurdle Final (G1), 2 9/16 miles, 4-year-olds and up mares

Having beaten the Irish in the Mares’ Novices Hurdle (G2) at Cheltenham, English mare Love Envoi looks to beat them again on their own turf here. Many of her opponents that day are back for another go, but the biggest danger may well be Brandy Love. She missed Cheltenham but had run second behind the exciting Allegorie De Vassy in the Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle (G3) Jan. 22; with a little freshness on her side she could well be the one to beat.

  • $10 win/$30 place: Brandy Love

Fairyhouse, April 17, Race 6: Gold Cup Novice Chase (G1), 2 1/2 miles, five-year-olds and up

It’s a good field, but one horse clearly stands out. Galopin Des Champs had the Turners’ Novices Chase (G1) at his mercy with an outstanding performance at Cheltenham March 17, only to slip on landing and fall at the last fence. He looks outstanding and probably only needs to stay on his feet to win. Multiples are probably the best way to try and win from this race, given the likely prohibitive odds for the favorite; horses to consider include Gabynako, Master McShee, and Saint Sam.

  • $20 win: Galopin Des Champs
  • $1 trifecta: Galopin Des Champs, with Gabynako, Master McShee, Saint Sam, with all