Havana great time at Irish Champions weekend

Steve Hughes picks from the best of Sunday’s racing

Big meetings at Longchamp and the Curragh on Sunday to give racing fans plenty to look forward to. I have a selection from the first of four Group 1’s in Ireland, whilst at Bath there are two valuable handicaps, for which I have an each-way bet for the staying division. Kew Gardens landed us the St Leger at Doncaster yesterday (3/1).

Curragh 3.05: Havana Grey

The straight sprint track at the Curragh seems to be all about getting into a rhythm, a good early position and bringing it home from there. It certainly suited Havana Grey when he won on his first visit here in July and for a Group 1 this looks pretty weak.

He was far from disgraced when fifth from a wide draw in the Nunthorpe at York last time and this habitual prominent racer ought to be able to take a handy enough position in this field. He found plenty for pressure when winning that group 2 in the summer and has that handy mix of speed and stamina for a flying 5f.

He is not ground dependent, having won in terrible conditions at Glorious Goodwood last summer, but having also plenty of top class form on fast ground. It does look riding on the slow side today, which won’t affect him but could blunt the speed of horses like Take Cover and Hit the Bid.

Bath 3.55: Innoko

He might be an infrequent winner with a 7-73 strike rate under all codes, but Innoko is very consistent (with a further 28 placed efforts in those races) and should be suited by the way this race will be run – and has the services of probably the best claiming jockey in the country right now in Jason Watson.

He was beaten just a head in his previous race on the flat, an All Weather contest at Wolverhampton last month, so is in form. His best form since joining current handler Robert Stephens has always been in bigger fields so he should be at his best today in this competitive race where pace looks almost guaranteed with Croquembouche and Glens Wobbly in the line up.

Indeed he was second in the final of this series last season – when it was run at Yarmouth. Prior to that he had run three times at this track during the summer with a win and two placed efforts to his name. He is not ground dependent and that 3lb claim of Watson’s could make all the difference.

Recommended bets:

1pt win – Havana Grey – 3.05 Curragh – 9/4 Skybet

0.75pts each-way – Innoko – 3.55 Bath – 11/1 general

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