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Johnny Ward's Irish Angle: Egypt can gain revenge on Siskin

By Johnny Ward
Thu 8 Aug 2019

Irish Racing expert Johnny Ward has three selections at the Curragh on Friday evening where the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes centre stage.

Weather permitting, the Curragh's crowd should get a considerable bump for Friday evening's Keeneland Phoenix Stakes card, a historic evening for the old place.

Not only have we the rarity of a Group One being held on a Friday, Pat Keogh's reign as CEO begins, with hopes high that he can turn the track's fortunes around.

Keogh has made immediate changes. Part of the rejigged facilities will feature the former Owners & Trainers area on the first floor, and the first and second floors of the Aga Khan stand will be open to the public too.

It will make it an even better evening if we get a winner or two. Heavy rain is forecast (up to 25mm prior to racing) on Friday, so bear that in mind. Best of luck.

5.15 Curragh: Sherpa at 5-2 with Bet365

Ryan Moore rides Hong Kong here, and he is interesting, but that may help the price of Sherpa, who has a similar enough profile.

The Zoffany-bred colt made his debut in a strong, although falsely run, Curragh maiden, and was noted making late gains into sixth place.

Donnacha O'Brien's mount was certainly not knocked about and looks a certain improver.

6.15 Curragh: Know It All at a general 9-2

This is another race that will advertise the quality of the form of the maiden in which Sherpa ran in at the Curragh.

Taking on the colts then, this daughter of Japanese stallion Lord Kanaloa was a big price but ran an absolute blinder and the stable was among the winners at Sligo on Wednesday.

There is only one previous winner in this race, One Last Look, and she was a shade disappointing at Leopardstown.

Know It All has strong claims, and this is a good bit of placing by Murtagh.

6.50 Curragh: Monarch Of Egypt at a general 6-4

It is hard to know what this horse's ideal ground will be but, with the rain coming, it is certainly encouraging that his high-class dam, Up, was an impressive winner at the Curragh on soft to heavy in 2012.

Monarch Of Egypt was no match for Siskin when they clashed in the Railway Stakes, but he was desperately weak in the market then.

Befitting the views of paddock experts that he was carrying a bit of condition; Aidan O'Brien effectively told punters before the race that he needed the run.

Expect him to get much closer to the Ger Lyons-trained beast here.

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