Robbie Wilders from the Racing Post has taken a considered look and serves up three bets on an intriguing Monday card at the Curragh.
Honey Girl @ 12/1
Star Girls Aalmal @ 5/1
Insinuendo @ 9/1
1pt each-way extra (three places)
The layers often pay a little too much respect to William Haggas-trained runners and Queen Aminatu looks a short enough price at the early odds in the Group 3 Athasi Stakes (3.35) at the Curragh.
That is partly due to Haggas’ excellent 38% strike-rate (6-16) over the last five years in Ireland.
The slow-burning Queen Aminatu, who was beaten in two handicaps off a mark of 82 last summer, is on a sharp upward curve after smoothly landing a good prize at Newcastle on All-Weather Finals Day in April.
However, the calibre of horse Queen Aminatu brushed aside there falls some way short of this company, with three fillies who hit the frame in Group 1s last season holding reasonable claims in a contest which looks quite open.
Agartha’s 3lb claim is expected to anchor her and the pair to side with are HONEY GIRL and STAR GIRLS AALMAL.
Both fillies were trained by Henry de Bromhead last season, but Honey Girl has joined Joseph O’Brien and made the perfect start for her new yard when landing a course-and-distance maiden in March.
It can be a tough ask for four-year-olds in Curragh maidens at this time of year to give away bundles of weight to well-bred, Classic-entered fillies, but Honey Girl made no mistake to defy a market drift.
She built on her fifth in the Matron Stakes to Pearls Galore at odds of 125-1 last season to belatedly score for the first time.
The well-beaten fourth has won nicely since, with other also-rans performing well in defeat in subsequent outings, and it is plausible to think O’Brien may be able to progress Honey Girl further.
Star Girls Aalmal has remained with De Bromhead and has an Irish 1,000 Guineas fourth on her CV, although her form tailed off in the final months of last campaign after a decent showing when fourth in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.
However, Star Girls Aalmal removed any doubts she might have peaked with an encouraging fourth to Insinuendo on her return in the Park Express Stakes here over a mile in March.
Star Girls Aalmal shaped second best there as she was boxed in by the rail and denied a clear run until it was all too late, eventually finishing strongly under Chris Hayes to almost place.
This seven-furlong trip probably suits the strong-travelling Star Girls Aalmal better and, with greater luck in running, she can secure the Group success her performances richly deserve.
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Luxembourg is the star attraction at the Curragh as he returns in the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes (4.10).
With a rating of 123, it would be a disappointment if he failed to oblige.
However, he makes zero appeal first time out at odds-on, given he scrambled home as a 1/4 shot on his return from a mid-season lay-off over this course and distance in the Royal Whip last season.
The horse who was unlucky to lose out by a neck to Luxembourg that day, the high-class INSINUENDO, reopposes off 11lb better terms and she looks the way to go at a likely much more enticing price in the each-way extra market.
The fact Insinuendo is race-fit is in her favour against Luxembourg on his comeback, and my selection is also 3lb better off with early second favourite Above The Curve from the pair’s meeting in the 2022 Blandford Stakes over this course and distance.
Above The Curve is also making her seasonal return and only beat Insinuendo by a neck there.
Insinuendo will likely never encounter a greater opportunity to atone for her narrow defeats to the big two.
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