It’s the second day of Irish Champions weekend at the Curragh and after the delights of seeing Roaring Lion rule again and Laurens bounce back to beat Alpha Centauri on Saturday, I’m looking forward to another high-class card.
The pair of Group One races for two-year-olds events are the races I’ll be looking forward to most, with the clash between Godolphin’s Quorto and Coolmore’s Anthony Van Dyck in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes an especially intriguing contest. Both have looked potentially top-class in recent starts and if both give their running it could be a fantastic race.
The Comer Group International Irish St Leger looks as though it may get tactical and I was finding it hard to form a strong view, although Flag Of Honour is likely to be well positioned and is steadily going the right way so looks a worthy favourite.
The Flying Five looks a sub-standard Group One sprint and Karl Burke will be hoping a performance similar to his win in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes over course and distance in July may well be enough for Havana Grey to bag a top level prize.
He wasn’t helped by racing solo on the far side in the Nunthorpe last time and has solid claims with Hit The Bid feared most.
There’s also top level action taking place in France with the Group One Prix Vermeille (2.50) supplemented by the Prix Foy and Prix Niel and other pattern races.
The fact he’s without a win since his debut last autumn is a slight concern but N Over J has returned from a short break off a falling handicap mark in good form.
A decent second at Kempton on his penultimate start, he would have gone close granted a clear passage at Epsom last time and is able to race off the same mark here.
This race represents a slight drop in grade and though one of two of his opponents arrive in decent form, not many of appeal as being especially well handicapped so this looks a good opportunity for him with the yard also in good form.
Polish looked a strong stayer when winning at Salisbury in June and displayed the same traits again when second to the useful Bombyx at Doncaster on his next start.
Top-end three-year-old handicaps have proved too much for him on his last couple of starts but he should find life much easier as he goes up in trip and down in grade.
The application of cheekpieces for the first time may also eek out some progress while an end-to-end gallop that looks likely here will also be in his favour. All things considered I’d be surprised if he didn’t prove to be ahead of his mark of 84 under these conditions.
Flashcard looked like a colt with Pattern-race potential when making a seriously impressive winning debut at Salisbury last month and did nothing to dispel that view when shouldering a penalty to follow up at the same track nine days later.
The form of those wins looks solid enough, especially his debut success which came at the expense of Dirty Rascal who has improved his form in two outings since with a win at Windsor and close second in a valuable sales race at Doncaster earlier this week.
A reproduction of those efforts could well be enough to take this but there looks sure to be improvement to come, especially as his pedigree suggests this slightly easier ground may well prove optimum.
My Boy Sepoy disappointed when last seen at Newmarket in early August but tackling soft ground for the first time might have been the reason for that and on the balance of his previous form looks overpriced today.
A winner on firm ground over a mile here in May, that form, which is backed up by a solid time, plus his next two starts at Nottingham and Newmarket in races that worked out quite well, suggest he’s still a well handicapped horse.
It’s interesting that connections send him back to the track where he gained his only success and, although his pedigree doesn’t scream he will want this trip, the way in which he saw his race out for that previous victory gives me every confidence he will get home.
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