Thundery heavy showers in Dublin last night. The step-up in trip proved the key for Iridessa. She’d won the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last October beating Hermosa, in May in the 1000 Guineas, and again at the Curragh for the … Continue reading →
A small select field for the first of two G1’s at the Curragh this weekend, the Pretty Polly serves as the starter to the main course tomorrow, the Irish Derby.
Restricted to fillies and mares it’s the first generational meeting at top-level here in Ireland this season. The three-year-old Pink Dogwood will start favourite at 11/10, she steps back in trip to 10F after her second in the Oaks at Epsom. She travelled strongly in the straight looking like a winner, she was collared close home going down a neck to Anapurna.
She’s accompanied by her stablemates, the older Magic Wand, a 10/1 shot and Happen, another three-year-old priced at 33/1, both ran at Royal Ascot last week. Magic Wand was dropped to Listed class in the Wolverton Stakes, she finished second going down 2½ L to Addeybb. She was last year’s Ribblesdale winner over Wild Illusion. Happen ran in the Coronation Stakes, she found the pace too sharp, well beaten in sixth, prior to that she took the Ashasi Stakes here having run second to Lady Kaya in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.
Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, second favourite at 5/2 went on from last year’s Ribblesdale defeat to greater things. She took the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and then the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp on Arc day, overturning the defeat with Magic Wand in the process. She found only Sistercharlie too good in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at the end of last season. Sixth on her return in the Prix d’Ispahan, she needed the run fading only in the last furlong.
Worth Waiting, 9/1 is an intriguing runner. David Lanigan’s mare is a five-time winner from eight starts and comes into the mix having taken the G2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket first time out this year, she was also an easy G3 winner at Deauville last year.
Iridessa 14/1, found the mile too sharp as a three-year-old in both Irish and English Guineas having been a winner over the distance as a two-year-old in the Fillies’ Mile where she beat the dual Guineas winner Hermosa. Joseph O’Brien will be hoping the step up in trip will play to her strengths.
Ger Lyons skipped Royal Ascot with Who’s Steph 66/1, instead sending her to Cork the week before where she was a very comfortable winner of the Munster Oaks, her third win at G3 level. She was also a G2 second in the Blandford Stakes last September beaten ¾ L by Eziyra. This will be her third Curragh run.
It’s a short turnaround since Ascot, only a week, and while Aidan O’Brien has proved with Circus Maximus short turnarounds can be overcome, it’s still a lot to ask for both Magic Wand and Happen. Pink Dogwood might just feel the effects of a hard run race in the Oaks while the best filly in the race Wild Illusion really came into her own in the autumn last year.
This opens the possibility for a surprise, the improving Worth Waiting is worthy of consideration, off since May, she might just need the race however Who’s Steph, disregarded by the market, has had a nice break since Cork and is capable of belying her price.
Recommendation:Who’s Steph 66/1 e/w
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The Irish Guineas has been lit up with the news that Too Darn Hot will come to the Curragh, beaten over 10F in the Dante at York, the petrol gauge running empty in the last furlong, John Gosden has decided to strike while the iron’s hot saying he came out of York so well and fresh he need’s to get another run into him.
Europe’s top-rated two-year-old who took all before him, culminating in a very impressive Dewhurst win will face Magna Grecia, an unsatisfactory 2000 Guineas winner at Newmarket who has 6 lbs to find with Too Darn Hot on official ratings despite a classic win.
Surely it’s a two horse race, so the market says, 5/4 about the English horse 6/4 about the Irish horse, 8/1 bar.
As a juvenile last October Magna Grecia took the Vertem Futurity beating Pheonix Of Spain whom we’ve not seen since, only a head separated them. Prior to that Charlie Hills colt was 1¾L behind Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September. The issue for him is not only does he have to bridge the gap with the principles, he also has to do it in his first run of the season.
Skardu has 4¼L to find with Magna Grecia on his Newmarket third. The Craven winner was quietly fancied by connections going into the Guineas and didn’t disappoint in what was a messy race, they split into two groups. Magna Grecia stayed on the rail with another pair, Willie Haggas’s colt came up the middle with the main group, including Emaraaty Ana. He finished strongly to head Madhmoon to finish third. He must have felt like the winner. The fact that Magna Grecia and the second, King Of Change came from the rail trio suggests they was a definite advantage to the near side on the day, whether the advantage came from pace or track bias will only be told here.
Shelir crosses the road from Roswell House coming into the race not having had a juvenile campaign. His debut, a winning one at Navan in March was followed by a Tetrarch Stakes win here at the Curragh in April. He was professional about how he went about it and he will improve again. I Am Superman, favourite for the Tetrarch faded close home to finish fifth and he’ll also come on. Jim Bolger’s representative, Guaranteed goes more in hope than confidence, he won the Eyrefeild Stakes last season’s end.
Ballydoyle also sends the exposed Van Beethoven, the most experienced in the race, this being his twelfth run. He was at Longchamp two weeks ago for the Poulains finishing sixth to Persian King beaten 5L. He’s joined by stable companions Globe Theatre the pacesetter, and Mohawk who reverts back to a mile from 10F where he ran second in the Dee Stakes at Chester. Old Glory, an expensive yearling son of Frankel at €1.6m will have a lot to do given his best form was third in the Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown last October.
Decrypt, to change electronic information or signals that were stored, written, or sent in the form of a secret code may the message to interpret here. Paddy Twomey introduced him at this meeting last year where he ran second in a maiden. He returned to the Curragh two weeks later to win his maiden with Lady Kaya making her debut back in third. Hillwalker also debuting filled forth, he went on to win at Listed level at Gowan Park. Decrypt’s racecourse return was left to Cork this year where over 7F he was a very easy and impressive winner.
Of course he’s a mountain to climb, Too Darn Hot looked unbeatable last year but this year he’s been beaten, the drop in trip may well restore his shine. Magna Grecia might not have been flattered at Newmarket, he might just have outpaced them. If that’s the case, yes it’s a two horse race, and one hell of a cracker at that. However, if this has come too soon after York, a nine-day break for Too Darn Hot and the split in the Guineas field led to track bias then there is a message here to be deciphered.
Recommendation: Decrypt 20/1 ew
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The Pentagon on his way out to win the Tyros Stakes last July
A field of twelve go to post for the Irish Derby with Ballydoyle supplying four of the entries headed by Saxon Warrior who will go off the odds on favourite quoted at 4/5. He’s on a retrieval mission having flopped at Epsom where he couldn’t justify the favourite’s tag after his scintillating performance in the 2000 Guineas. Dee Ex Bee who ran second to Masar at Epsom is priced up as the 7/2 second favourite.
Stay and he’ll win was the call of the day at Epsom for Saxon Warrior but stay, well it appeared he didn’t, instead labouring home in fourth. There was no after burner, no turn of foot, no sudden burst of acceleration as there had been in his previous run’s. When he rounded Tattenham Corner the warning signs were there, Ryan Moore was having difficulty keeping position and as they came into the straight Dee Ex Bee was travelling by far the sweeter of the pair and he stayed on resolutely to be second. Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon trailed in sixth and eighth respectively with Knight To Behold fading to eleventh having led into the straight.
Delano Roosevelt went on to Ascot for The King Edward V11 Stakes, affectionately known as the Ascot Derby, but he couldn’t justify favouritism there when beaten 4 L by Godolphin’s Old Persian. He was upped in class from Listed level and he took it all in his stride to put in a good performance and win cosily. He has been supplemented to represent the team here as they’ve decided to target Masar at the The Eclipse next week. Rostropovich ran on well to be second.
Platium Warrior goes for Mick Halford. He ran fourth in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial behind The Pentagon and Delano Roosevelt and then won the Gallinule Stakes here a month ago getting the better of Joseph O’Brien’s Latrobe by 2 L in the process. Latrobe went on to break his maiden here over this trip three weeks ago.
Dermot Weld’s Bandua is unbeaten in two run’s. He’s asked to make a massive step up in class but he may well be capable of it. He won his maiden in April at Cork impressively by a wide margin from Arthurian Fame and followed up at Cork again in early May winning easily again. Both win’s were on soft ground but he may well prefer a quicker surface. The form was given a nice boost by Dawn Hoofer, 16 L behind him in the second Cork race, when he won the Apprentice Derby here last night.
Carlo Biraghi form ties in with Bandua as he won his maiden when beating Arthurian Fame by 3 L but he didn’t match the effort when fifth at Listed level last time out. Jim Bolger’s Theobald makes up the numbers having failed to match the potential he showed in his first three runs as a juvenile.
In the build up to this race Ballydoyle have been quiet about Saxon Warrior. That might signal a certain nervousness or alternatively the view may well be the horse will do the talking.
Like everybody else we thought he would hack up at Epsom but he failed to fire. Post race Aidan O’Brien felt he had been distracted, in awe of the experience, failing to concentrate and he simply ran green. If Aidan’s right it’s likely he’ll have got the greenness out of him and if so he could win here however the jury is still out on whether he truly stays the mile and half trip and this stiff Curragh track will one way or the other find him out. At the price he’s too short to back given the questions the Epsom run has posed.
There are good each way alternative’s.
The later developing three year old’s are of interest. Charlie Appleby’s Old Persian could make the supplementary worthwhile, he beat Gronkowski as a juvenile who ran so well to be second to Justify in the Belmont Stakes. Dermot Weld’s rank outsider Bandua could well belie the 50/1 odds on offer now. On debut he has 23 L to spare over Giuseppe Garibaldi who was then 2 L behind Old Persian at Royal Ascot.