It’s a wonderful card of racing at The Curragh on Friday night, one that carries €364,000 in prize-money and features three Group races plus the €100,000 Tote Irish Cambridgeshire.
4:20pm Irish Stallion Farms EBF (colts and geldings) Maiden (Plus 10 Race), €17,500, one mile
Aidan O’Brien has won this race in each of the last five years, including with subsequent English 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior in 2017.
Among what is probably a high-quality field this year are:
Alatar, trained by Michael Halford, by Ruler Of The World out of a Listed winner
Mogul, an Aidan O’Brien-trained colt that finished second on his debut and he is a full-brother to the same stable’s recent Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes winner, Japan.
Aidan also runs Nobel Prize, who is a full-brother to 7-time Group/Grade 1 winner Highland Reel, and Shoshone Warrior, who is by champion sire Galileo and a half-brother to Group 1 winning 2yo Astaire.
Leading National Hunt trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott each has a runner in the race, with both of their horses running for the first time.
Gordon’s runner, Praise You, is by Acclamation and his granddam won at Listed level and finished second in the French 1,000 Guineas.
4:50pm Group 3 Flame Of Tara Stakes (fillies) 2yo, one mile, €80,000
The unbeaten Cayenne Pepper (2 from 2) runs for Jessica Harrington here. Joseph O’Brien (2 runners), Ger Lyons, Dermot Weld and Aidan O’Brien are all represented in the race.
Just one favourite has won this race in the last ten years, Aidan O’Brien’s 7/4 market leader Just Wonderful last year, although six of the last eight winners have been returned at 9/2 or shorter.
It’s a fascinating race and looks sure to produce plenty of good future winners.
5:20pm Group 3 Round Tower Stakes, 2yo, 6f, €60,000
Aidan O’Brien runs his Coventry Stakes fourth, Fort Myers, who finished third to Siskin in a Group 2 race last time, Lope Y Fernandez, second in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot before a disappointing run at Goodwood last time, and Mount Fuji, who was beaten eight lengths when fourth to Siskin in the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes here last time.
Richard Fahey sends his unbeaten Ventura Lightning (Tony Hamilton) across from England for the contest and Archie Watson sends Guildsman, who finished third in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Oisin Murphy is set to take the ride.
Aidan O’Brien has won this race for the last three years, including Ten Sovereigns last year, and in four of the last six. Ger Lyons won it in 2011 and 2014
24 have been declared for the TRM Stride Handicap at 5:50pm (€17,500, 6f, 3yo+)
Selection: ARCANEARS – He finished second in a similar race here in May when rated 79 and is now rated 76. Also, he will race in both a hood and cheek-pieces for the first time and is a course-and-distance winner. He has a low draw (stall 2), but hopefully that will not cause any inconvenience.
Drawn in the middle of the field, MEDICINE JACK is undoubtedly well-weighted on his best form from 2018 and ERICH BLOCH, his stable-companion – they are both trained by last week’s £1million Ebor Handicap winner, Ger Lyons – (drawn 20) is lightly raced, open to improvement and has stable jockey Colin Keane on board.
6:20pm Group 3 Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes, 9f, 3yo+, €65,000
Seven of the 12 fillies declared for the Snow Fairy are rated 98 or higher, including recent Gowran Park Listed Race winner Goddess, a half-sister to Irish Oaks winner Bracelet, Group 2 winning two-year-old, Wading, and Grade 1 winning Athena (Belmont Oaks), whose trainer Aidan O’Brien has three runners in the race tonight.
Aidan has won this three times in the last six years, Jessica Harrington has won it twice in the last four years. She runs Trethias tonight.
The form of Goddess’s Gowran Park win was boosted on Thursday when Waitingfortheday, who was ninth at Gowran, won the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Fairy Bridge Stakes at Tipperary
6:50pm €100,000 Tote Irish Cambridgeshire, 3yo+, one mile
26 are set to go to post for the Irish Cambridgeshire at 6:50pm, including the following two British raiders:
David O’Meara’s Hortzadar (Oisin Orr) and Richard Fahey’s Zap (Tony Hamilton).
There has been no winning favourite in the Cambridgeshire in the last ten years, with five of the last ten winners being returned at 16/1 or bigger.
Katiymann finished second in this race last year from a rating of 89 and runs here from the same rating. Lethal Power finished sixth last year from a rating of 86 and will run from that rating tonight.
Aidan O’Brien won this race last year with the well-backed Kenya (one of only two three-year-olds to have won this race in the last ten years) and runs Turnberry Isle (Ryan Moore), who ran well when fourth in a Group 3 race at Leopardstown last time behind Madhmoon.
Dermot Weld’s lightly-raced Jassaar remains open to improvement and has won at The Curragh.
7:20pm The Curragh Celebrating The Rose Of Tralee Apprentice Handicap, 7f, 3yo+, €11,000
This race has attracted a field of 24 (5 of them from the stable of Joseph O’Brien).
7:50pm Paddy Power Amateur Riders’ Derby, 12f, 3yo+ rated 50-85, €13,000
This race will be run over the full Irish Derby trip. Joseph O’Brien has won the race for the last two years and runs Stronghold (Mr N Bashford) this evening.