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Curragh Irish Derby Festival Friday tips: Best bets on day 1, June 28

Three days of high quality action from the Curragh kicks off on Friday evening as the Irish Derby Festival gets underway at the Co Kildare venue.

The evening card at the Curragh runs from 17:00-20:25, with the concluding Apprentice Derby one of the features on day one.

Enda McElhinney will have race-by-race picks across all three days at the Curragh for Planet Sport readers.
Don't forget to check out the full racecard, results and live odds in Planet Sport's racing live centre.

Good luck and please gamble responsibly.

(Please be aware selections could become non-runners after article's first publication)


Curragh Friday selections:

17:00 (Curragh) Snapdragon

17:30 (Curragh) And So To Bed

18:05 (Curragh) Ice Cold In Alex

18:40 (Curragh) Siege Of Troy

19:15 (Curragh) Palamon

19:50 (Curragh) Alpha Capture

20:20 (Curragh) Courageous Strike


17:00 (Curragh) Snapdragon

Lots of these are seeing the track for the first time – with Admiral Churchill, Beckman, Distant Seas and Viking Invasion amongst those that warrant close inspection based on price tag/breeding/connections.

Snapdragon was safely held on debut at Naas last month but the 240,000 gns son of No Nay Never should leave that behind and Ryan Moore's presence is a positive. First-time blinkers are deployed by Aidan O'Brien to aid him.


17:30 (Curragh) And So To Bed

Similarly in this fillies' maiden, debutantes Bay Colony, Lake Victoria, Murkala, Senna's Girl and Valencia merit close inspection.

Joseph O'Brien saddles two, the aforementioned Valencia as well And So To Bed.

This Kodiac filly was only getting the hang of things late on over 6f here in last month's debut, finishing fourth behind Heavens Gate (third in the Albany at Royal Ascot last week), while the runner-up also won next time.

An extra furlong makes sense now and she is open to significant progress.


18:05 (Curragh) Ice Cold In Alex

He's a 10-year-old now and his very best days are in the rear-view mirror but Ice Cold In Alex retains plenty ability and might have one more knockout blow in him.

The four-time Curragh winner (5f-7f) has run well in both starts here this season, finishing within two-lengths of the winner each time, and remains off an unchanged mark this evening.


18:40 (Curragh) Siege Of Troy


Johnny Murtagh's Siege Of Troy has shown more than enough in two runs so far to suggest she will soon land a maiden.

She was staying on at the line last time at Gowran Park over 1m1½f in what was probably a decent maiden at the Kilkenny track.

A pair of cheekpieces go on and this Qatar Racing filly is a key form player.


19:15 (Curragh) Palamon

Scaramanga is on a dangerous mark but has an absence to overcome, enough to oppose Willie Mullins' runner.

This being a two-miler, plenty of the jumps yards are represented and Stoke The Fire (Mullins/Colin Keane), How About No (Joseph O'Brien/Dylan McMonagle) and Golden Temple (Noel Meade/Jamie Powell) are all interesting.

Paul Nolan's Palamon was last spotted winning a maiden hurdle at Cork in May and the ex-Richard Hannon-trained four-year-old will now have his first Flat run for this handler.

He won over 1m2½f at York in September and is completely unexposed as a stayer on the level, so Luke McAteer's partner is a player here.


19:50 (Curragh) Alpha Capture

Winning in Listed company at York (6f, good to soft) on his final 2YO start on turf meant Alpha Capture was very much behind the eight-ball last summer in handicaps for William Haggas from inflated ratings.

He was starting to find his feet by the autumn and has since joined Willie Mullins whilst remaining in the Simon Munir/Isaac Suede ownership.

This will be his first run beyond 7f and the champion jockey Colin Keane is an eye-catching jockey booking on stable bow.


20:25 (Curragh) Courageous Strike

Rounding off day one is the Fitzpatrick's Mercedes-Benz Apprentice Derby Handicap, where a field of 19 contenders are engaged.

Courageous Strike showed ability last season for Adrian Murray but was in the care of Dominic Ffrench-Davis by the time he won a Wolverhampton handicap in October having been snapped up by Amo Racing.

He disappointed under aggressive tactics in two further starts for the Lambourn handler and is now back on these shores.

At Gowran Park recently, he was much more patiently ridden and stayed on over 1m1½f to take third off a 1lb lower mark.

James Ryan steered Tudor City home in front in the contest 12 months ago and his unexposed partner can give him another big run.


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