Let’s start in Ireland with Saturday’s feature at the Curragh, the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
There are set to be eleven runners, but there isn’t much standing out at big odds. Zihba is unbeaten in three starts and could be of interest after a good Group 3 win at Leopardstown less than two weeks ago.
Elarqam ran with credit in the English 2,000 Guineas and must have a very good chance of landing this. Roaring Lion won the Dante at York after finishing a place behind Elarqam at Newmarket. That shows the form might be worth respecting and on that basis he should go well.
The Ballydoyle pair US Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt should also be respected. The latter was sixth in the English 2,000 Guineas, while the first named won two Group 1s last season. I think a mile will push US Navy Flag on pedigree, while Gustav Klimt has perhaps more on the pedigree to suggest this kind of trip.
Overall, I think Elarqam just about edges it on what we’ve seen so far, but don’t rule out a return to form for Gustav Klimt.
Over at Haydock, Sands Of Mali is one of the market leaders for the appropriately named Sandy Lane Stakes. He won a Group 3 in France last time and perhaps has even more progression in him. I quite like the filly Heartache in the same race. She has only run four times including two prestigious Group 2 wins at Ascot and Doncaster. I’d side with her.
Battash is a shade of odds-on in the Temple Stakes and deserves to be. He won four of five races last season, including a Group 1 victory. That sets the standard here and while Kachy, Washington DC and Take Cover all have claims, it may just go the way of the favourite.