Category Archives: Group 3

The Desmond Stakes (G3)

Custom Cut leaves the ring for last year’s Desmond Stakes

The evenings are drawing in and the last of the summer cider will be drunk tonight at Leopardstown.

The feature is an interesting renewal of the Desmond Stakes.

David O’Meara sends Custom Cut back for another crack at a track where he has been very successful. This will be his ninth visit to the course where he’s won three times, twice at G3 level including on his last visit when he took the Amesthyst Stakes over this distance here in May and once at G2 level when he won the Boomerang Stakes again over a mile in 2015.

He’s accompanied on the trip from England by Morando who’s looking for a fifth win from his seventh start. Roger Varian’s four old didn’t get a run as a juvenile but as a three-year old he managed three successive wins. He returned to the racecourse to win a listed race over a mile at Windsor on the 1st July.

True Valour at Naas earlier in the season

The home team is headed by three in the shape of True Valour, Sea Wolf and Alexios Komnenos who fought out the Celebration Stakes at the Curragh also on the 1st July. A 1/2 L and a neck separated them. Of the three the one with the most capacity to improve is the latter as Fossy Stacks runner was only having his third run of his life. Last year he won a maiden beating Inca Gold first time out and then only went down a battling neck to Churchill in the Tyros Stakes.

Diamond Fields at Naas in May

The other Stack runner Diamond Fields also processes some nice form having taken the scalp of Alice Springs in the Gladness Stakes at Naas at the start of the season. She then found the going too quick on her return to the same track over the May bank holiday weekend when running last to Rehana in the Athashi Stakes. We haven’t seen her since.

Flight Risk, Music Box and Intricately make up the field. The former is trained by Jim Bolger who after a cold spell had a double at Gowran Park yesterday. Flight Risk is hard to win with but like Custom Cut her last visit to the track was a winning one when she took the Ballycourus Stakes over 7 f here in June.

You might say Music Box is well exposed at this stage as this will be her 12th start of the current campaign however like many of Aidan’s she keeps improving from race to race. Her last three run’s are testament to her toughness. She found Drumfad Bay too good at Killarney and Only Mine too good at Naas but last time out she turned over the form with Drumfad Bay when taking a listed race at Galway.

Intricately won the Moyglare Stakes last year, the premier two-year old fillies race in Ireland. She hasn’t won since but she has been to all the best dances. She’s the only one in the field to have operated almost exclusively at G1 level. She might have been well beaten at the Breeders Cup last year at Santa Anita and again in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket but her run in the Leopardstown Guineas Trial at the start of the season was very good as was her run in the Irish 1000 Guineas where she was only 5 L off Winter. She’s since disputed the Pretty Polly and Irish Oaks where her stamina might have been stretched too far and the step back to a mile here will most likely suit.

This is an open and intriguing event.

There are proven older performers, the likes of Custom Cut, Sea Wolf and Flight Risk, the lightly raced four year old Morando. Then are are the three-year olds in receipt of a weight for age allowance with the fillies benefitting 3 lbs more than the males.

If the younger generation are to come out on top then you could argue both Music Box and Intricately have already had their opportunities. That leaves the three-year old males, True Valour and Alexios Komnenos. Of the two a chance is taken with the latter. He might be the least experienced but on the back of a 1/2 L defeat by Churchill and a very encouraging seasonal debut he offers the most potential.

Recommendation: Alexios Komnenos 13/2 win







Musidora Stakes (Group 3)

Sariska in 2009 was the last filly to do the Musidora/Oaks double.

Two fillies have the opportunity to do it again.

Star Of Seville and Together Forever are respectively 12/1 and 16/1 shots for the Oaks at Epsom next month and a good performance in todays Musidora may see one or either of them shorten considerably.

Star Of Seville is trained by John Gosden who was very unlucky not to have done the double in 2012 with The Fugue. She won her maiden last October by 6L in impressive fashion (2nd has won since on the all-weather) and won a conditions event at Newbury again in impressive style by 3 1/2 l on her comeback last month.

Together Forever is already a Group 1 winner for Aidan O’Brien having taken the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot last autumn. It was the last run of six she had as a juvenile and it was a big step up the ladder having previously won at listed level and before that a fillies maiden.

Star Of Seville and Together Forever have cross form with both beating Winters Moon. The Gosden filly had 7 L on her at Newbury while there was less than 1L between the O’Brien filly and Winters Moon last year at Ascot. That would seem to give the edge to Star Of Seville and the reason why bookmakers have quoted her a shade of odds on today as opposed to 7/4 available about the Irish filly.

In her favour is a run already this year however against her is experience. That might shade it for Together Forever even allowing for the concession of 4 lbs for that G1 win.

It would appear this is a two-horse race and its significance for the Oaks will be further understood in the aftermath of the race.

Recommendation : Together Forever 7/4 win


The Craven Stakes (Group 3)

The Craven meeting brings classic thoughts hidden in deep winter into focus. Dreams of Guineas glory over long dark nights can disappear in a flash as was the case with the long-standing second favourite Faydhan yesterday in the Free Handicap.

The Craven is a Guineas trial over course and distance but it’s a long time since a Craven winner returned in May to capture the main event. That’s not to say it hasn’t produced great winners, Dancing Brave in 1986, Ajdal the year after, Twice Over in 2008, Toronado in 2013 however you have to go back Tirol in 1990 to find the last Craven winner to triumph on the first Saturday in May.

Off course the preference now for trainers is to miss the trials completely and instead go straight to the Guineas. This does somewhat diminish the trails unless of course their is a performance that cannot be ignored.

Of the seven runners lining up here early prices of around 3/1 and 7/2 would suggest Moheet and Nafaqa will dispute favoritism however in the ante post market for the 2000 Guineas there are respectively 20/1 and 33/1 shots.

Moheet had the one run at Salisbury in October where he ran out a 7L winner.

Nafaqa is much more experienced. Introduced in the Chesham at Royal Ascot where he ran fourth, he stepped up to win a maiden following up with a listed win at Doncaster before running second in the Royal Lodge to Elm Park who then went on to win the Dewhurst.

Kool Company is the most experienced in the field, having run nine times as a juvenile. He’s a five time winner including the Railway Stakes at the Curragh where he had the measure of War Envoy by 3 3/4 L on a good to firm surface.

War Envoy had eight visits the course. He’s also hardy and tough and in those runs there are some nuggets of good form. He ran second in last years Champagne Stakes (Aces back in third) and although turned over on his seasonal debut at Dundalk he was beaten by a good Ger Lyons colt in Convergence.

Luca Cumani’s White Lake is an interesting contender. After a maiden win he was fourth to Nafaqa in the Doncaster race. What’s interesting is that Luca doesn’t tend to put them into early season battle unless he’s see’s something.

David O’Meara is now responsible for Hail The Hero who transferred from Aidan O’Brien over the winter. He won his maiden at Doncaster on debut for the new yard and also has good form in the book. He was beaten a neck by Vert De Grace, a colt who went on to be beaten 3/4 L by the Guineas favourite Gleneagles in the Futurity Stakes following up with a G1 win in France at the end of the season in the Criterium International at Saint Cloud.

We mightn’t see a Guineas winner here yet this race will certainly give us a bearing on that race. Aidan O’Brien will come home from Newmarket knowing where he stands with Gleneagles and with a run under his belt this year his War Envoy represents the best value in today’s market.

Recommendation : War Envoy 11/2 win




Royal Ascot Day 2 – Featuring The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)

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Treve’s form is in reality is only enhanced by the defeat in the Prix Ganay by Cirrus Des Aigles.

Cirrus has gone on to take the Prix D’Ispahan and Coronation Cup since and before the Ganay had run a cracker in Dubai behind Gentildonna. The advantage of a run gave Cirrus the edge and the fact that Treve got involved in an epic battle up the straight showed not only has she trained on but also she is a willing fighter with a will to win to match her class.

She’s truly a superb animal, one of the best we’ve ever seen over middle distance’s. She trounced a top class Arc field last year when she had no right to. Lit up early, out of position for most of the race, it didn’t matter she sauntered past them as if they weren’t there.

This field is decent.

Another top class filly in the shape of The Fugue (triple G1 winner, last time in the Irish Champion Stakes), Magician (top class Breeders Cup Turf winner and Irish Guineas winner), Dank (Beverley D winner), Mukhadram (2nd in Dubai World Cup) and a rejuvenated Parish Hall (Dewhurst winner, albeit 2011). They’re all playing for place money. The fact that Jim Bolger continues to let Parish Hall mix it with the best means he’s some faith in him. He ran his best race since that Dewhurst when making Magician battle all the way last time out at the Curragh. He could sneak a place at long odds.

Recommendation : Treve 4/6 win, Parish Hall 80/1 ew (if all 8 run)

In the other races :

The Jersey Stakes (Group 3)

Strong Irish challenge in number and quality, with Surdiman’s two year old form suggesting he’s overpriced. He’s a won the Phoenix Stakes and was second in the National and should strip fitter for a recent run at Naas where he ran out of puff in the closing stages to finish fourth.

Recommendation : Surdiman 25/1 ew


The Queen Mary ( Group 2)

Wesley Ward’s Spanish Pipedream will be all the rage after Hootenanny romping home today but Eddie Lynam’s Anthem Alexander a 7 L winner at Tipperary is a worthy second favourite. Maybe she didn’t beat much but like another of yesterday’s winner’s The Wow Signal she’s by Starspangledbanner who showed he’s capable of passing on his speed gene. Eddie know’s how to produce quick one’s too. Wonder if she’s worked with Sole Power?

Recommendation : Anthem Alexander 7/2 win

The Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2)

Certify is worth another shout, only beaten the once she was overturned by L’Amour De Ma Vie in the Balanchine at the Dubai Carnival having beaten her earlier in the carnival. She was a proper two year old beating Sky Lantern and Purr Along before winning the G1 Fillies Mile by 4 1/2 L’s from Roz.

Recommendation : Certify 14/1 ew