up for Gordon
Kerrygold Irish Oaks (5.10) is a mouth-watering Classic but there is a strong
argument for the Group 2 Paddy Power Minstrel Stakes (4.35) being the race of
the weekend at the Curragh.
field included two Guineas winners and multiple group victors but few will
argue with Gordon Lord Byron getting top billing as he makes his 100th
Cahalan’s 11-year-old hasn’t gotten to make an international trip so far this
season, having previously raced in Australia, France, UAE and England but it
would be fitting if the three-time Group 1 winner could add a ninth group prize
(and third win alone in this contest) and make it a 17th overall
success on home turf, on the day he becomes a centurion.
Tom Hogan-trained gelding has shown plenty of enthusiasm this year but he does
face stiff opposition in the likes of last year’s Irish 2000 Guineas winner
Romanised, who was an unlucky fourth on his last start at Royal Ascot for Ken
Condon and Billy Lee, and the 2018 French hero Hey Gaman, who comes into this
affair on the back of two stakes wins and has Killarney’s pride and joy,
Frankie Dettori on board for James Tate.
Risk represents the Jim Bolger-Kevin Manning axis and is a triple Group 3
winner, having bagged his second Ballycorus Stake on his penultimate start at
Leopardstown, when Gordon Lord Byron was third. Mr Lupton was victorious at
this venue in May for Richard Fahey, when again, Gordon Lord Byron finished
third. Gary Halpin takes the ride.
Quinn’s Safe Voyage is chasing a fourth successive win of the campaign, Aidan
O’Brien is triply-represented and Damien English runs former Ballydoyle inmate
North Wind, with Colin Keane an interesting appointment for steering duties.
Tom and Tony have been among the winners in the past week, but Willie is still
the man to watch, boasting a very high strike rate from his select crop of
runners over jumps, 25 winners from 57 runners boasting a staggering 44 per
cent rate of success.
flat return is not as spectacular, but of course 32 per cent (six from 19) is
still amazing, with four runners-up included in the tally that didn’t get their
heads in front.
suspects that he would derive significant pleasure from winning at the Curragh
on Kerrygold Irish Oaks day and Royal Illusion has an outstanding chance in the
Kildare Village Ladies Derby. The seven-year-old is chasing a hat-trick on the
level, the trainer’s son Patrick and Richie Deegan doing the honours at
Leopardstown and Bellewstown.
time around it is Jane Townend, sister of stable and champion jockey Paul who
gets the leg up. An accomplished operator, the Cork woman will not be found
wanting up one of the most famous straights in the world.
has them humming
Collins name is synonymous with the Curragh and it has been nice to see Tracey
Collins’s string running well this season. Daughter of the legendary Con, the
local handler has already had three winners this season from just 29 runners.
the process, she is illustrating her ability to get the best out of her horses
and connections would be ecstatic if she could get a winner at Headquarters on
has already been in the winner’s enclosure and while the Ticket Offers At
Curragh.ie Handicap (4.20) on Sunday represents a step up, the four-year-old
has a lovely racing weight of 8-4, having followed up her Sligo win in the
middle of June with a two-length third at Naas eight days later.
up and with the red hot Niall McCullagh on board, she should put in a bold bid