Tag Archives: Curragh

The Irish Derby (Group 1)

Taj Mahal at Leopardstown last year

Sport can sometimes be cruel.

Last week Peter O’Mahony was the Lions captain. This week he watch’s the match from the sidelines. Padraig Beggy will also watch from the sidelines after winning the Epsom Derby on Wings Of Eagles. He is replaced by Ballydoyle’s number one pilot, Ryan Moore.

He was no fluke winner of the Epsom Derby.

Ae we noted in the Epsom Derby blog he showed a turn of foot in the Chester Vase when second to Venice Beech. That was repeated when he collared Cliffs Of Moher and Crackman at Epsom. Cliffs Of Moher waits for next week’s Eclipse but Cracksman comes back for another crack at Wings Of Eagles. The noises from the Gosden camp are positive and they are looking forward to the rematch. Their thinking being their colt having only had his third run of his life will improve. Wings Of Eagles will be having his seventh run. Is he still improving?

The Derby form got a great boost at Royal Ascot with both Benbatl (5th at Epsom) winning the Hampton Court Stakes where he beat Orderofthegarter a 1/2 L and Periman (10th at Epsom) winning the King Edward V11 Stakes where he beat Khalidi (14th at Epsom).

Capri, Douglas Macarthur and The Anvil also represented Ballydoyle at Epsom. Capri was disappointing running sixth running on at same pace with Douglas Macarthur 1 L behind in seventh. Seamie Heffernan retains the ride on Capri, a horse he’s been sweet on since his first run. The suspicion now is he shows more at home than he does on the track.

Douglas Macarthur who probably does show us as much on the track as he does at home will be ridden by Donnacha O’Brien as Colm O’Donoghue is claimed for Grandee as retained rider to the Jessica Harrington stable. He will have to improve a ton to win this on the back of a listed win at Leopardstown, the good news was that that was over 1M4F so he’ll stay.

Dubai Sand also has a mountain to climb on ratings if he is to win having been beaten 9 L by Douglas Macarthur in the Derrinstown Derby Trial in May. He’ll be the freshest horse here.

Ana O’Brien will again get a spin on The Anvil. At Epsom Douglas Macarthur broke well and took it up joined by Ana on The Anvil. The pace they set was searing and soon they were well clear of the field. Rounding Tattenham corner Wings Of Eagles was a long way back running third last. Douglas Macarthur up front was piling on the pressure. He soon burnt off The Anvil and when Cracksman came to his hindquarters 2 F out he began to fold. Outside of Cracksman Cliffs Of Moher was attacking under Ryan Moore. It looked between the two of them. All the while in behind Padraig Beggy was getting a tune out of Wings Of Eagles. He easily picked up a tiring field and as the line loomed he swooped late to overhaul his stable companion and Cracksman. Turn of foot, job done.

Andre Farbe, who won this in 2005 with Hurricane Run, has elected to send Waidgest here on the back of his excellent second in the French Derby where Brametot beat him a short head. Taj Mahal ran a cracker staying on to be fourth 1 1/2 L behind the winner with Orderogthegarter back in sixth. This was reversed in the Hampton Court when Orderogthegarter ran second to Benbatl with Taj Mahal again filling fourth.

The form link suggests Epsom was the better race than Chantilly.

There’s every reason to think Waidgeist will benefit from the step up in trip from the 1M2F Prix Du Jockey Club to the 1M4F here. Cracksman you would expect will improve from his Epsom run also. So too will Wings Of Eagles. This time Ryan Moore will call the tune. It’s the turn of foot that will deliver.

Recommendation: Wing Of Eagles 9/4 win

                                      Wing Of Eagles, Cracksman, Waidgeist Combined Trifecta 

 

The Irish 1000 Guineas (Group 1)

Rehana on her way out to win the Athasi Stakes at Naas

Winter may have won at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago but can she double up at the Curragh on today?

Aidan O’Brien has decided against running Rhododendron instead keeping her for the Oaks but he is still mob handed with half the field declared from Ballydoyle. Supporting Winter are Hydrangea, Roly Poly and Asking.

It’s the ground that thrown everything. The heavy rain yesterday at the Curragh has turned the ground to yielding, a bit worse than it was for that Guineas Trial at Leopardstown. It now looks a hot trial now, won by Hydrangea with Winter second and Rehana third. All take each other on again here.

Four fillies oppose the Ballydoyle juggernaut.

Aneen from the Kevin Prendergast yard had two runs as a juvenile. She made a pleasing debut at Leopardstown running on strongly into fourth before winning a maiden here at the Curragh on good to yielding ground where she was an easy winner albeit possibly an uncooperative one when flashing her tail when put under the whip.

Bean Feasa (Irish for a woman of knowledge) represents Jim Bolger. She ran very well first time out when going down a half a length to Psychedelic Funk at Naas last year but in two subsequent runs as a juvenile she wasn’t able to build on that. Her reappearance came in what the Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial where she ran fifth. A second in a maiden behind Naughty But Nice was then followed up with a win over Asking in the Derrinstown 1000 Guineas Trail at Leopardstown.

Joseph O’Brien’s Intricately was a surprising winner of the Moyglare Stakes (G1) last year but she hasn’t gone on from there. At Newmarket she was competitive before running out of steam two furlongs out and maybe it was the dip that caught her out. She’ll welcome a return to this flatter track and she’ll also like the ground given her win the Moyglare was on a yielding surface.

Rehana from the Mick Halford stable had four runs last year including a win over Rhododendron when she took her maiden. Thereafter she went down in the Debutante Stakes (G2) and in the Moyglare Stakes (G1) fourth both times. Her third in the Leopardstown Trial was followed up with a very impressive performance at Naas three weeks ago when she took on and beat older fillies in the Athasi Stakes (G3).

It worth noting that Roly Poly whose overall two year old form was good also has form on the track and on the surface having won the Grangecon Stud Stakes (G3) here last June.

It’s a tight one Winter is well capable of doing the double but she’s a skinny price and she’s worth taking on. Rehana’s performance at Naas was very likeable and she seems to have come on well from the Leopoardstown Trial. Her test today is the surface, if she handles it she could win today.

Recommendation: Rehana 13/2 ew 

                                        Rehana, Roly Poly (Reverse forecast)

 

The Irish 2000 Guineas (Group 1)

Lancaster Bomber at Leopardstown last August

An intriguing Irish 2000 Guineas where Churchill is nearly impossible to oppose.

As predicted he added to his stature by winning the English 2000 Guineas two weeks ago. The only surprise being before the race the handicapper had him rated 122 but the Newmarket run has been measured at 120.

The talk of Derby has filtered away and Aidan has chosen to keep him at a mile. Fear of him has meant only three trainers will take him on but it’s doubtful any really expect to beat him. Lancaster Bomber will once again accompany him to post as does his Sprit Of Valour who wasn’t able to provide the pace at Newmarket.

Mick Halford has had to throw his lightly raced Irishcorrespondent in at the deep end. He only came to Mick this year and what he’s shown them at home he’s repeated on the racecourse. He was a good winner of a maiden catching the eye with an impressive victory over a mile at Leopardstown in April and last Sunday he put in another impressive show when easily accounting for Homesman, a Ballydoyle inmate, who had previously won a maiden at Limerick. He really is a horse to like. He was able to do it easy both times putting distance between himself and the others in a matter of strides. How Mick would have loved another week between his races.

Thunder Snow is on a retrieval mission after his now infamous impression of a bucking bronco in the Kentucky Derby. Godolphin were optimistic heading into the race reckoning it was there best chance to lift the Run for the Roses. He’s something of a forgotten horse because of that run which is unfair as it’s most likely a slipped tack was the cause of the issue. He was a Group 1 winner as a juvenile when taking the Criterium International (G1) at Saint Cloud at the end of October then following up with two good runs at Meyden where he took the UAE Derby (G2). He’s something to find with Churchill on his Dewhurst run last year where he was 2 L inferior.

Glastonbury Song hails from Ger Lyons Glenburnie stable in Meath. His debut last September created some excitement with the manner in which he won it. Gliding across the surface his feet hardly touched the ground and one could imagine if he could repeat the same of turf he could be the stuff of dreams. That bubble burst in the 2000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown when he could only manage a modest fifth. Ger brought him back to Dundalk for a confidence booster a month ago which he got again relishing the surface easily winning by 2 1/2 L.

Churchill retains his 122 rating even though the handicapper saw his Newmarket run as slightly inferior to what he did last year. This gives a glimmer of hope to the connections of the others but in reality it’s about who’ll chase Churchill home.

Will it be Lancaster Bomber whose done that already at G1 level in the Dewhurst Stakes (G1). Will it be Thunder Snow the only other G1 winner in the race. Could that potential shown by Irishcorrespondent be good enough or will Glastonbury Song create the dance we seen on Dundalk’s all weather on this good to firm turf?

Can your hear the festive roar.

Recommendation: 1,Churchill 2. Glastonbury Song (Forecast)

Glastonbury Song 50/1 e.w (small interest)

The Irish Derby (G1)

Harzand winning The Derby. Picture courtesy of Alan Crowhurst and Getty Images

Heavy pulses of rain hit the Curragh through Friday and the ground will ride with juice in it. It’s come right for Harzand. The Derby winner thrived on a heavy surface earlier in the season in the Ballysax and at Epsom he was even better when the ground was good to yielding.

He improved from Leopardstown to Epsom to confirm his authority over Idaho and although you would expect tactics will be different this time for Idaho the result will be the same.

Moonlight Magic didn’t handle Epsom at all but on form he’s not out of it. He beat Idaho in the Derrinstown in impressive style on good ground and while the showers have passed and it will dry out you would expect that decent ground won’t come in time for Jim Bolger’s colt. The same applies to Stellar Mass, the other Bolger representative who is an improver having taken the Ulster Derby at Down Royal last weekend.

Only one traveller in the shape of Red Verdon from the Ed Dunlop stable. Sixth in the Derby he has an uphill task.

Aidan O’Brien does his best to support the race and it’s a pity US Army Ranger didn’t make it. He was pulled out having scoped badly leaving Port Douglas, Shogun and Claudio Montevedi to join Idaho in the box up from Tipperary. Of the three the latter makes most appeal on the ground. He finished very well to take fourth on the first day of the season and followed up winning his maiden in very good style in April where The Gurkha was 6L behind in third. He hated Epsom when sent for the trial in April and Aidan dropped him from the team. No doubt he’ll be here to do a job, to set the fractions for Idaho.

Earlier in the week there was some doubt about the participation of Harzand with Dermot Weld expressing concern about the race coming too soon after Epsom. As the week has progressed it has become less an issue and with the ground in his favour it’s hard to look beyond him.

At even money he’s a fair price however at 66/1 a horse who can beat The Gurkha 6 L has to be backed for a place.

Recommendation: Claudio Montevedi 66/1 ew