Full race preview and free betting tips for the 3.55pm Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes at the Curragh.
The Curragh hosts the highlight of this Sunday’s racing – The Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes. It's a contest with a rich heritage; Vincent O'Brien used it as a prep for his 2000 Guineas winners Lomond and El Gran Senior in the 80's while Giant's Causeway used it as a stepping stone to his run of Group 1 successes in 2000.
In recent years the race has been dominated by four year-olds, including when Custom Cut (10/3 bet365) sprang a surprise to win this race sent off 25/1. He returned to action better than ever in the Doncaster Mile, a Listed event that had a stronger looking field than this Group 3. The first two in that race, as well as the fourth, were all rated 110+ and there is no reason to believe that the front pair at least weren't absolutely at their best. Despite only having run over this 7f trip in just two of his last ten races he has produced his best form over this distance and, despite having to shoulder a 3lb penalty for his corresponding race win last year, he should go well.
The other penalised runner is SRUTHAN (7/2 Sky Bet) who wasn't seen until his three year-old campaign but made up for lost time winning half of his six starts. He signed off last season with a Group 3 win at Tipperary with three of today's rivals in behind him. He also boasts a C&D Listed win on his CV when comfortable despatching a 109 rated horse of Ballydoyle. His official rating of 111 looks more than justified and, despite the hood being a slight question mark, he is the most lightly raced in the field and should improve further this year.
This time last year, Cristoforo Colombo (3/1 bet365) was being prepared for a tilt at the 2000 Guineas. He ran a very solid fifth, beaten less than a length by the fourth, Toronado, but failed to progress from there. He won a minor race on the all weather at Dundalk before a respectable effort in the Breeders Cup Mile behind the mighty Wise Dan. It's hard to know exactly how much latent ability this horse has so is best watched with the stable yet to fire this year and the cheekpieces having being refitted.
TOBANN (16/1 SkyBet) represents the in-form yard of Jim Bolger and is an interesting competitor. On the current official ratings she shouldn't finish any better than fifth and has found things hard going after a handicap win over this distance at Leopardstown last August. She looked over the top come Autumn though, and those last few lacklustre runs can be easily forgiven. Her victory at Leopardstown has worked out well with runner-up Jamsie (rated 94 at the time) winning a handicap in Meydan off 100 before two solid runs at Group 3 level. The fourth has also claimed a Meydan prize off 102 and 105 in handicaps while the fifth won off 93 at Dundalk a few weeks ago.
Wannabe Better (5/1 bet365) looks a threat on ratings with underfoot conditions perfect for her. She is a multiple Listed winner and the likelihood is that she will claim a Group 3 victory at some point this season but, with all of her career wins coming over further, she may just find that one or two in here will tap her for a bit of toe at a crucial stage of the contest.
Overall it's a fascinating race with plenty of runners that can be given a chance. It looks a race to be revisited throughout the season as this is sure to throw up plenty of winners. The pair with penalties look the most likely winners of the race, SRUTHAN looks progressive and receives marginal preference over the more exposed Custom Cut. I can't help but have a little bet each-way on TOBANN as I don't think we have seen quite what she is capable of yet.
SRUTHAN (WIN) (7/2 SkyBet)
TOBANN (E/W) (16/1 SkyBet)
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