Irish Eyes: War in Command
Our Irish Eyes column previews this afternoon's top-class action at the Curragh.
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War Command was deposed as 2000 Guineas favourite two weeks ago following his defeat in the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes but he looks vastly over-priced to atone for that defeat in today's Group Two Futurity Stakes at The Curragh and he gets the nap vote to do just that.
People have been terribly quick to write off this horse but prior to doing so, it is important to consider his three runs to date. He was an easy winner on his debut, showing a tremendous turn of foot to extricate himself from an uncompromising position off the home bend at Leopardstown. He then went to Royal Ascot where he was ridden out the back of a strongly run Coventry. Once more, he showed a fantastic turn of foot to steam thorough rivals that had cried enough, to win in a good time. The way he ran in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes two weeks ago suggested he didn't learn much from his first two starts and he still appeared very green compared to the battle hardened Sudirman who was having his fifth start. Rather than taking the populist view that War Command was terribly disappointing as the 2/5 favourite, we are instead of the opinion that he was still learning and only finished a length off the winner, who set a new record time in the race. War Command will have learnt much more from the way the Phoenix Stakes panned out and today's extra furlong will be right up his street.
Incidentally, a further positive in favour of this horse is that Aidan O'Brien's two most recent winners of the Coventry Stakes, prior to War Command, both got beaten in the Phoenix Stakes. Power subsequently won the Irish 2000 Guineas as a three-year-old while Henrythenavigator proceeded to win both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas and a total of four Group One races. Bearing that in mind, it makes sense to open our ante-post flat portfolio by recommending a wager on War Command to win next season's 2000 Guineas at 14/1 with Sky Bet.
As for today, we would recommend taking the morning price of Evens about War Command as that seems excellent value and he is likely to return much shorter.
Elsewhere on an excellent Curragh card, Yulong Baoju steps up into Group race company for the first time. The vastly improving filly ran a cracker when finishing third for this column in the Rockingham last time out, when she was put up as the each-way selection. She again gets the nod today to reach the frame in the ultra-competitive Group Three Flying Five Stakes. Although she takes the jump up from handicap company for the first time, everything she has done to-date suggests she is well up to Group race standard and her trainer Eddie Lynam has his string in tremendous form. She appeals at general odds of 10/1.
Nap: War Command - 4.20 Futurity Stakes, The Curragh
Each-way: Yulong Baoju - 3.10 Flying Five Stakes, The Curragh
Ante-Post: War Command - 14/1 (with skybet.com), 2000 Guineas