Preview: Longines Irish Champions Weekend – Sunday at the Curragh

The Curragh Racecourse is set to host the second leg of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend and has another stellar line up of thrilling Group racing to provide entertainment for any racing and punting fan alike.

Moyglare ”Jewels” Blandford Stakes

The Group 2 contest is run over one mile and two furlongs and is open to fillies and mares three years and older. Ten runners are set to go to post in a bid for the €147,500 prize fund.

Dermot Weld trained Tarnawa, is set to be ridden by Chris Hayes and is the current ante-post favourite. The Aga Kahn bred filly impressed on her last outing when she landed the Give Thanks Stakes at Cork last month. One to be noted.

Aidan O’Brien trained Goddess will be all out to make it a hat trick of wins at the Curragh. Having returned to the winners’ circle on her last two outings, at Gowran and more recent at Curragh where she landed the Group 3 Snow Fairy Filly Stakes.

Others to keep an eye on include Ger Lyons trained Who’s Steph (although ground conditions suit when softer) while Jessica Harrington’s Trethias is set to be steered by Shane Foley who is coming from an impressive performance at the Curragh last month where she finished third. Both to be highly considered on the betting market at each way.

Selection: Goddess

Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes

The first Group 1 of the day, the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes is run over five furlongs and welcomes a field of 12 runners.

Edward Lynam trained Soffia has made great strides this season, the manner of her last success would suggest that she can see off the strong challenge of Mabs Cross appealing, along with Soldiers Call.

Michael Dods Mabs Cross is another name to keep in mind. The five-year-old finished fourth after a solid run at York last month, where Archie Watson’s Soldiers Call finished second. It will be interesting to witness these two come head to head again in another battle.

Selection: Soffia

Can Albigna and Shane Foley (pictured above with Jessica Harrington) return to the winners’ circle again at the Curragh?

Moyglare Stud Stakes

The Moyglare Stud Stakes is the second Group 1 contest of the day and is set to take place over seven furlongs, where nine two-year-old fillies go to post.

Trainer Roger Varian won this contest back in 2014 with Cursory Glance. This time around he has William Buick on board Daahyeh. This Group 3 winner will appreciate this seven furlongs trip and will be one to be reckoned with.

Shane Foley is set to do the steering on board Albigna who is trained by Jessica Harrington. Thought to be one of the best two-year-old fillies on the yard, she won a Group 2 here at the Curragh last June and has since been kept for this.

Ballydoyle based Aidan O’Brien runs Love in this contest and stable jockey Ryan Moore is booked to ride. The Coolmore bred filly will be one to watch for a placing – will be interesting to note if the length of trip truly suits as she struggled in the final furlong on her last outing at this trip.

Stablemate Precious Moments is one to watch at an each-way price on the betting market. The daughter of Gleneagles finished second to Albigna last June but hasn’t performed as well since. Connections will be hopeful she can return to previous form.

Selection: Precious Moments at e/w

Armory pictured above, is the Ballydoyle favourite for the National Stakes title

Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes

The Group 1 National Stakes is the highlight of day two of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Curragh and could have a big say on the markets for next year’s Classics. Set over seven furlongs and hosts a prize fund of €228,000 with eight horses set to go to post.

Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo, the outstanding juvenile of the season, will face his toughest test of the season at the Curragh this weekend. Unbeaten in four races, the Godolphin owned colt created a huge impression with Royal Ascot and Goodwood wins however Aidan O’Brien will be in a bid to take back the title for Appleby this year.

Coolmore declared crack two-year-olds Armory and Arizona. Armory has won three from four and Ryan Moore is set to ride the daughter of Galileo in the bid to once more, have the filly return to the winners’ circle.

Donnacha O’Brien rides Arizona who is an entry to keep an eye on at an each-way price. The Coventry Stakes winner struggled on his last outing as good ground suits better.

Selection: Armory

Kew Gardens and Ryan Moore winning the St Leger at Doncaster last season

Comer Group International Irish St. Leger

The final Group 1 of the day, the Comer Group International Irish St. Leger, will be run over one mile and six furlongs with ten class contenders going to post.

Kew Gardens is a name racing enthusiasts will be eager to keep an eye on. The Aidan O’Brien trained, son of Galileo, had a stellar season last year winning the Grand Prix de Paris and the St. Leger but has been absent since finishing second in the Coronation Cup in May of this year.

Stablemates Capri, Southern France and Cypress Creek are also all set to represent the Ballydoyle yard. Connections of Capri will be eager for the five-year-old to return to winning ways as the Irish
Derby winner and St. Leger winner in 2017.

Melbourne Cup and Dubai Gold Cup winner Cross Counter leads the way for Charlie Appleby and certainly has a major chance following on from his last outing where he finished third in the Goodwood Cup last July.

Irish Derby winner LatrobeBuckhurst and Twilight Payment, formerly trained by Jim Bolger, are among those in the mix for Joseph O’Brien.

Selection: Cross Counter


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