It’s the first Classic of the Irish Flat season on Friday evening as well as some good racing at Newbury. Nick Luck has previewed the best of the action.

Sinawann can serve it up to more-fancied rivals

The return of racing keeps throwing us up all sorts of unexpected and welcome surprises, and Friday night’s entertainment – televised live on ITV4 – is just the latest example.

It is particularly exciting to have the best racing from Ireland available to such a wide audience, many of whom will be anticipating either a 12th victory in Irish 2000 Guineas (6:40pm) for the mob-handed Aidan O’Brien or success for Ger Lyons courtesy of his unbeaten favourite Siskin.

My own fancy for the race, however, is the Michael Halford-trained SINAWANN.

This horse certainly has the pedigree to win classics – by the explosive Kingman out of a half-sister to Sinndar – one of the most underrated racing greats of the modern era. Although that suggests he should improve over further still, there seems every chance that this race will be run at a searching gallop and play to his strengths.

I was at Leopardstown when he ran such a fine race to be second to Mogul, the pride of Ballydoyle, never flinching when in tight quarters and galloping stoutly to the line. He should improve significantly this year and is good value each-way at 11/1.

Weld’s runner the fancy in Irish Lincoln

BASHIYR can make it a double for the Aga Khan silks in the Irish Lincolnshire (7:15pm) at 6/1. Very lightly raced by Dermot Weld, he showed smart and progressive form last year, showing that he was a strong stayer at this trip. Some will have been disappointed in his final start, but he was arguably too far off the pace and there should be more to come off this mark.

I will also be backing INSIGNIA OF RANK each-way at 16/1 in the same race. He ran some ordinary races last back end but can go well in a big field. He’ll also like the track and ground and is down to a very competitive mark.

Maze can strike Gold

Earlier in the evening, GOLD MAZE might be the answer at 11/2 in the Gallinule Stakes (6:10pm).

This is still a maiden, but he ran a screamer to be placed behind Innisfree in Group 2 company last September, and he should really appreciate the extra distance and better ground.

Air to take your Breath away at Newbury

ITV cameras will also be at Newbury, where BREATH OF AIR in the second race on the card (5:25pm) is quite a strong fancy with Ryan Moore aboard.

It is notable that all this horse’s best form has come after a break, that he has won at Newbury (beating Mohaather), that his stable is in form, and that he has been gelded since his last run. Add to that a fondness for an easy seven furlongs on a sound surface, and he fits this race nicely at 4/1.

An hour later, I’m interested in a slightly riskier proposition, AWEEDRAM at 7/1 (6:25pm). He made a really bright start last year before becoming a little disappointing. I feel he may have benefited from the break and this may the time to catch him off a fair mark, particularly with William Buick (two from two on the horse) booked to ride.

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