Hannon looks to Memory to end Moyglare famine
Richard Hannon's Memory is already odds-on to extend her unbeaten record in Sunday's 38th renewal of the Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh and confirm her standing as ante-post favourite for next year's English 1,000 Guineas.
The Highclere Syndicate-owned filly was priced up at 4/5 yesterday by Paddy Power to make a successful trip here. Supplemented before noon at a cost of €23,500, American-bred Laughing Lashes is next best at 5/1 to complete a Curragh big-race double for her trainer Jessica Harrington, who landed the Futurity Stakes with the exciting Pathfork at headquarters on Saturday.
The Ballydoyle trio of Misty For Me, Together (second and third to Laughing Lashes in the Debutante Stake) and Wild Wind are next, all priced at 8/1.
Memory -- which landed the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot before capturing Newmarket's Cherry Hinton Stakes last month -- will bid to bridge a 17-year gap for Hannon since he first took the Moyglare honours with Lester Piggott's mount Lemon Souffle.
In contrast, champion trainer Aidan O'Brien managed to record four victories in the space of just six years in this seven-furlong race courtesy of Sequoyah (2000), Quarter Moon 12 months later, Necklace (2003) and Rumplestiltskin in 2005.
Likewise, there could be a strong overseas challenge for the other Group races on the card. Henry Cecil's Aviate, which surrendered her unbeaten record when seventh in the Epsom Oaks, and Godolphin's Lush Lashes have been left in the nine-furlong Dance Design Stakes, while no less than 17 of the 24 initial acceptors for the Goffs Flying Five are based in Britain, including Benbaun and Manchester United striker Michael Owen's Blue Jack.
In a bid to cope with the considerable counter-attraction of Kildare's GAA resurgence, management at The Curragh are offering free admission to lady racegoers, who have the added bonus of a Moyglare Stud-Newbridge Silverware joint promotion of a €5,000 Search for a Style Icon competition.
Children under 16 go free and admission has been reduced to €10 with a half-price rate for seniors and students.
Meanwhile, the jumpers have the stage to themselves on both Saturday and Sunday in Galway, where the action then transfers to the Flat for Monday's closing session with a late afternoon start featuring the Ardilaun Hotel Oyster Stakes at Listed level. There's a healthy prize fund of €365,000 for this three-day meeting, inclusive of €10,000 Jackpot pool guarantees daily and the basic adult admission price is €15.
Looking much further ahead, Punchestown yesterday announced that the 2011 Irish National Hunt Festival will not start until the first week in May because Easter won't be happening next year until quite late in April.
The five-day fixture (May 3 to 7) was most recently fully staged in that month during the millennium year and this arrangement is designed to facilitate owners and trainers by allowing them a six-week break from Cheltenham and three weeks after Aintree.