1pt win Zihba @8/1, 16:10 Curragh, Saturday

The Curragh hosts Ireland’s first Classic of the 2018 flat season with the 2000 Guineas over a mile taking centre stage, where English Guineas fourth and sixth, Elarqam and Gustav Klimt re-oppose.

The market has been topsy turvy in the last week as Ryan Moore has opted to ride champion two-year-old U S Navy Flag over the once ante-post English Guineas favourite Gustav Klimt.

That’s seen the Dewhurst and Middle Park winner come in for support, but I couldn’t make a case for him at around 3/1.

Elarqam has rightfully ended up favourite for this and connections are bullish over his chances of improving on his strong Newmarket run to land this.

He had the option of the French Derby over a longer trip but this is where they’ve aimed him, and a repeat of his Newmarket form may be enough on its own.

I like his chances most of all, but I’m not sure it’s worth getting stuck in now at 7/4 when he was twice that earlier this week.

Let’s not forget he didn’t win the Guineas or even place in the top three, with the long shot Tip Two Win finishing in front, so despite the fifth home Roaring Lion franking the form in the Dante Stakes, I don’t think he’s a certainty by any stretch.

There are a couple I like at bigger prices.

It was tempting to side with Godolphin’s raider Symbolization at 11/1, but giving a lump of weight away in a handicap is hardly an ideal preparation for this, and a wide draw (8) takes something away from his chances.

The one I like is the recent Al Shaqab purchase ZIHBA for the smaller yard of Fozzy Stack.

He’s really well bred for a mile, being by star sprinter Choisir and out of a Galileo mare, and he’s unbeaten from three starts so far with no concerns over the fast ground.

Unusually for a three-year-old colt at this stage of the season, he’s already beaten his elders in the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown – which isn’t done easily – and a good draw in stall two means there’s a lot to like for an 8/1 shot.

He should be hard fit after three starts since December and looks well worth a try at this grade.

1pt win Zihba @8/1, 16:10 Curragh, Saturday

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