Frankel's brother on a magic Curragh mission
THE Jane Cecil-trained Noble Mission has emerged as an unexpected threat to Magician for Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup after the full-brother to Frankel was supplemented for Sunday's Curragh Group One at a cost of €21,000.
Aidan O'Brien's 2013 2,000 Guineas and Breeders' Cup Turf hero is a shade of odds-on to take the 10-furlong contest, but Noble Mission – an improving five-year-old that has won a pair of Group Three races on its last two starts – has been installed a clear second-best by the bookmakers at as low as 2/1.
Of the 15 entries, William Haggas' Dubai World Cup runner-up Mukhadram is next best at 5/1, with last year's Jim Bolger-trained Irish Derby victor Trading Leather at 7/1 ahead of a race that looks as though it will be the most competitive edition of the €210,000 event for some time.
"He has earned the right to contest a Group One," explained Cecil, who has succeeded her late husband Henry as the licence-holder at the famed Warren Place Stables.
"The likelihood of there being some ease in the ground came into our thinking, although he seems to go on any ground."
The Khalid Abdullah-owned colt shouldn't be inconvenienced by the going at headquarters, which was changed from yielding-to-soft to yielding yesterday morning after a dry day on Monday, though the track was hit with a heavy shower later on and more rain is forecast.
John Oxx, who is responsible for the Etihad Airways 1,000 Guineas 4/1 ante-post favourite My Titania on the same card, will hope the meteorologists are proved wrong.
He has stated that his Sea The Stars filly, which won both her second and third starts as a juvenile in the autumn, "will only run if the ground is not too soft" after skipping the Newmarket version with her due to a dirty scope.
Up-and-coming English handler Olly Stevens has expressed similar concerns about the participation of the 1,000 Guineas runner-up Lightning Thunder (9/2), though Clive Brittain has said that his 2013 Moyglare Stud Stakes victor Rizeena (11/2) is an intended starter following her effort to be seventh at Newmarket.
Al Thakira and Evita Peron are other cross-channel entries among a total of 14, with Ballydoyle set to choose from Marvellous, Palace and Wonderfully, while Dermot Weld is to rely on Abdullah's Tested and Vote Often.
The Curragh maestro's Mustajeeb is second-favourite at 13/2 to foil John Gosden's odds-on 2,000 Guineas runner Kingman in Saturday's Irish equivalent, for which Richard Hannon opted to supplement the Newmarket fourth, Shifting Power (15/2).
War Command is the pick of O'Brien's five entries according to the layers, a best-priced 7/1.