Casamento to join Beresford elite
This afternoon's Flat card at Gowran Park has plenty of quality on offer, but tomorrow's programme at The Curragh is undoubtedly the pick of the weekend's activity.
The Juddmonte Beresford Stakes takes centre stage. Recent winners of the one-mile Group Two include Sea The Stars, St Nicholas Abbey, Azamour and Alamshar, and Mick Halford's Casamento can now add his name to that illustrious list.
Supplemented for the race on Tuesday at a cost of €10,000, Casamento was a facile winner of a Tipperary maiden on its debut, before pushing the unbeaten Pathfork all the way to the line in the National Stakes a fortnight ago. Due to be partnered for the first time by Pat Smullen, the Shamardal colt faces six opponents tomorrow.
Factum, Music In The Rain and Mawaakef represent the top stables and bring winning form into the race, but couldn't be said to match the Sheikh Mohammed-owned favourite on paper.
If Casamento progresses from his second run as much as he did from his first, he will be very hard to pass in the €65,000 event.
In the card's other juvenile pattern race, the CL Weld Park Stakes, Chrysanthemum is an exciting prospect for David Wachman. Eleven fillies are declared for the Group Three, including Jessica Harrington's Roscommon winner Bible Belt.
Proven on soft, that one may be the biggest threat to Chrysanthemum, though Ballydoyle's Wild Wind could also improve on its fifth to Misty For Me in the Moyglare last month.
That said, having comfortably landed a Listed race on her debut here two weeks ago, the Wayne Lordan-ridden Chrysanthemum sets the standard.
The Hacketts Bookmakers Irish Cesarewitch is the penultimate race on the card, and arguably the most intriguing for punters. Clearwater Bay, Bright Horizon and Sindiyma have been installed 8/1 joint-favourites by the sponsors.
Others with chances include Dermot Weld's dual winner Endless Intrigue and Dessie Hughes' consistent Swiftmarc, but Clearwater Bay may be the one to side with.
Benefiting from a 12lb three-year-old allowance in its first handicap, Aidan O'Brien's Sadler's Wells colt has plenty going for him.
On today's busy eight-race schedule in Kilkenny, the Group Three Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Stakes is the most valuable pot on offer, with €52,000 put aside for the winner. There is little to choose between O'Brien's trio of Lady Lupus, Devoted To You and You'll Be Mine, but She's Our Mark is preferred.
Pat Flynn's six-year-old has been in the form of her life, and may not be too inconvenienced by the drop back to nine furlongs.
In the following ITBA EBF-sponsored nursery, Defining Year could play its part in what has the potential to be a profitable afternoon for Mick Halford, while Aidan O'Brien looks to hold the aces in the concluding juvenile maidens.
Long Live The King and Obligation, both second on their debuts and due to be partnered by the trainer's son Joseph, will be the horses to beat in their respective heats.