Magician to maintain O'Brien dominance of Mooresbridge
MAGICIAN can justify short odds to secure a fifth successive triumph for Ballydoyle in the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh today.
Aidan O'Brien has saddled three similarly long odds-on shots to take the €75,000 Group Three since 2010, with Windsor Palace's 66/1 shock defeat of St Nicholas Abbey disrupting the run in 2012.
Just as St Nicholas Abbey had done, Magician comes here on the back of a frustrating defeat in the Sheema Classic at Meydan on World Cup night, having failed to find the gaps required to challenge in time after dropping in stone-last under Joseph O'Brien.
Magician should come on for that now, and the champion jockey will be anxious to get him back to winning ways ahead of what could be a massive season for the Classic-winning Galileo four-year-old.
Of his four opponents, only Jim Bolger's Parish Hall could be considered a worthy rival, but the 2011 Dewhurst hero looks a shadow of his old self.
In the Listed Tetrarch Stakes, the Ballydoyle stable jockey has opted for Michaelmas over Great White Eagle, Fountain Of Youth and The Islander.
While Michaelmas and Great White Eagle, in particular, were highly regarded juveniles, a watching brief is advised for now, with preference in this seven-furlong heat going to Paul Deegan's Shining Emerald.
In winning for a second time at the Curragh last autumn, the Clodovil colt beat Guerre, which showed himself to be no mug by landing a decent sprint at Naas last week.
Shining Emerald subsequently finished third to Craftsman when Michaelmas was second in the Killavullan Stakes, but the advantage of race-fitness might tip the balance his way now.
On his re-appearance at Leopardstown, he came clear with Go For Goal in the mile Classic trial. He lost little in defeat, but this drop to six furlongs ought to suit Chris Hayes' mount.
The Coventry Stakes ante-post favourite The Great War and debutant Household Cavalry, a brother to the Derby runner-up Eagle Mountain, could win at either end of the card for Ballydoyle, with Peace Burg and Beyond Brilliance their representatives in the Athasi Stakes.
However, the one to keep on side in that Group Three is Tommy Stack's Wannabe Better.
An improved third to Sruthan under Wayne Lordon in the Gladness Stakes last month, Wannabe Better tends to improve for racing, so she is fancied to strip fitter again today.
The day's nap vote goes to Mick Winters' Jansboy in the beginners' chase at Down Royal. This is a poor contest, but the Davy Russell-ridden selection will relish the quick ground, after winning its last two hurdle starts in the autumn.
On its recent return at Cork, he was a fine third to Operating on his fencing bow, form that was nicely franked at Punchestown.
Jansboy is Russell's only ride on the card in the north, so it should pay to take heed.