Allegra Tak in search of hat-trick : Paddy Power Column

THIS really does seem to be a golden era for Flat racing with Sea The Stars and Frankel starring in recent seasons, and now English 2,000 Guineas hero Dawn Approach breaking on to the scene with his sensational victory last Saturday.

THIS really does seem to be a golden era for Flat racing with Sea The Stars and Frankel starring in recent seasons, and now English 2,000 Guineas hero Dawn Approach breaking on to the scene with his sensational victory last Saturday.

We decided to take him on in the morning going 2-1 and that proved a costly mistake as punters bashed him into 11-8 favourite at the off and the five-length win created a bloodbath for the bookies.

Trainer Jim Bolger initially appeared to be sitting on the fence regarding an appearance for Dawn Approach in the English Derby next month but the following day it appeared he will be the biggest draw on the Epsom Downs.

Sheikh Mohammed hasn’t enjoyed his greatest few weeks in the sport so Dawn Approach’s success for Godolphin’s founder will have given him a tremendous fillip and it’s not surprising a Derby appearance now appears likely as his owner would dearly love to claim the big one.

This week I’m hoping that Dermot Weld runs Rawaaq in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday.

There was plenty to like about her winning debut this season in another 1,000 Guineas Trial at the same venue three weeks’ ago when Pat Smullen eased the Invincible Spirit filly to the front at the furlong pole and the pair kept on well to master What Style by a length and a quarter.

That victory came in a Group 3 so she goes into this race without a penalty and I think that the additional furlong will play to her strengths as she certainly wasn’t stopping last time.

This is a very consistent filly, who isn’t the biggest but has won or been placed in four of her five starts, and while all her form is on soft or heavy ground, American breeding in her pedigree means that I have no fear of faster ground if we should be so lucky.

Sticking with the fillies I also like the chance of Allegra Tak, who will be bidding for a hat-trick, in the opening race at Cork on Friday evening.

I was worried about the five furlong trip that this seven-year-old ran over on her last start at Tipperary last Thursday, but my fears couldn’t have been further wrong as she absolutely hacked up by four and three-quarter lengths from Kateeva.

I’m still pretty convinced this girl prefers six furlongs, the distance on Friday, and it’s amazing how horses can make fools of men because I really do believe that she is getting better as she gets older.

Harry Rogers’ charge has already gone up 15lb this season and a further success could see her pushing a handicap rating of 90 and get her wily trainer looking for races at the bigger tracks.

It’s crunch time for teams towards the bottom of the Premier League and Aston Villa appear to have saved themselves with two massive wins against Sunderland and Norwich.

They’ll still want some more points to make sure and while I don’t think they’ll beat Chelsea on Saturday, I think they’re capable of a draw at 13-5 in what would probably be a bad result for the Londoners in their race for Champions League qualification.

The Blues will be on a high after their late winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford but this is a tricky fixture.

Selections

Friday Cork 5.10pm Allegra Tak

Saturday Villa Park 12.45pm Aston Villa to draw with Chelsea

Sunday Leopardstown 3.25pm Rawaaq