Five horses who caught the eye in defeat on Irish Champions Weekend

By Harry Allwood@H_Allwood1
Wed 16 Sep 2020

Harry Allwood kept a close eye on the racing action at Leopardstown and the Curragh over the weekend and selects five horses who are worth adding to your Racing TV tracker.

The 2020 Longines Irish Champions Weekend certainly did not disappoint, and we were treated to some stunning performances from some equine stars, as well as some potential future stars over the two days.

The race of the weekend would have to be the Irish Champions Stakes in which Magical got the better of Ghaiyyath in a thrilling renewal of the Leopardstown showpiece to become the second dual winner of the race.

Were there any excuses for Ghaiyyath? Interesting analysis from Angus McNae here on the Irish Champion Stakes

If you did miss any of the action, you can watch it all again for free in our results and replay section. You can also catch up with all the key interviews here.

Angus McNae analysed all the key races on Irish Champions Weekend in The Verdict on Racing TV on Monday, and you can watch all the segments from the show again here.

Below are five horses that caught the eye in defeat at the Curragh and Leopardstown and are worth adding into your Racing TV tracker.


Click here to add Fancy Blue into your Racing TV tracker

Trainer: Donnacha O’Brien.

Race: Third in the Coolmore America "Justify" Matron Stakes (3.10pm Leopardstown, Saturday)

The Verdict: Angus McNae analyses the Matron Stakes

I have been thoroughly impressed with Fancy Blue this season and it’s fair to say things did not go to plan for her in the Matron Stakes on Saturday.

Ryan Moore never looked that happy aboard the dual Group One winner who was being bustled along a fair way from home and his mount was struggling to go the pace on her step back to a mile.

The ground would have also been too fast for her and she eventually stayed on strongly towards the finish from an unpromising position.

Fancy Blue remains a high-class performer and it is best to put a line through this performance given the way things panned out. I expect her to make amends back over ten furlongs next time out.


Click here to add Tommy Taylor into your Racing TV tracker

Trainer: Johnny Levins.

Race: Fifth in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Sovereign Path” Handicap (5.50pm Leopardstown, Saturday).

Tommy Taylor was unlucky not to finish closer at Leopardstown

Tommy Taylor has caught the eye on numerous occasions since joining Johnny Levins and did well to finish as close as he did in this 7f handicap.

Held up towards the rear, the consistent six-year-old was short of room when beginning to make his challenge and had to wait for a gap before he finally gained a clear passage.

A strong run in the closing stages saw him finish a never-nearer fifth, but he would have undoubtedly finished in the first three at least had he not met trouble in running.

It seems Tommy Taylor needs a strong pace to aim at over seven furlongs and, admittedly, he is not the easiest to win with as he has not got his head in front for three years.

However, there is no doubting he has the ability to win a race off his rating and it is surely only a matter of time before things fall right for him.


Click here to add Thunder Beauty into your Racing TV tracker

Trainer: Ken Condon.

Race: Fifth in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (3.40pm Curragh, Sunday).

The Verdict: Angus McNae analyses the Moyglare Stud Stakes

Thunder Beauty looked to have a bright future when scoring on debut, despite running green, and backed up that performance with an eye-catching fifth in this Group One contest.

The daughter of 2000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder was last with three furlongs to run and was left with plenty to do plus made her challenge widest of all.

She also raced on the middle of the track where the ground seemed slower and finished behind rivals who had the benefit of more experience. Ken Condon said before the race that he holds his youngster in high regard, and she has certainly proved she has an abundance of ability on her first two starts.


Click here to add Wembley into your Racing TV tracker

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien.

Race: Second in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (4.10pm Curragh, Sunday).

The Verdict: Angus McNae puts the National Stakes under the microscope

Thunder Moon – who is now favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas - produced one of the most eye-catching performances of the weekend when maintaining his unbeaten record in the National Stakes on Sunday.

However, Wembley was also an eyecatcher in second having travelled as well as the winner and was also hampered entering the final furlong in what was a messy race.

The son of Galileo made up plenty of ground and was doing his best work inside the final furlong which suggests a step up to a mile and into middle distances next year will not be an issue.

I was quite surprised to see Aidan O’Brien’s youngster still available at 20-1 for the 2000 Guineas next year, and I would not put you off having an investment at those odds.


Click here to add Helvic Dream into your Racing TV tracker

Trainer: Noel Meade.

Race: Third in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Northfields” Handicap (5.50 Curragh, Sunday).

Watch how Helvic Dream fared at the Curragh on Sunday

Helvic Dream made up an abundance of ground out wide to finish third behind the impressive Sonnyboyliston – who looks a group performer in the making – and his effort can be marked up given how much ground he lost when making his challenge.

The three-year-old was also hampered slightly when making headway on an unfavourable part of the track and he drifted towards the stands’ rail inside the final furlong.

Whether he would have beaten the winner had he not lost so much ground is questionable, but it was still an encouraging effort and he remains unexposed over ten furlongs.

Noel Meade’s charge also appears versatile ground-wise and was narrowly denied by So Wonderful in a Listed contest on his previous outing, plus also defeated future Matron Stakes winner Champers Elysees on his final start last year.

He is certainly one to keep on side and ought to be capable of landing a valuable handicap in the future.

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