Saturday 10 December 2016

O'Brien to reap reward with Found set for Coronation crowning glory

Published 19/06/2015 | 02:30

Trainer Aidan O'Brien
Trainer Aidan O'Brien

The winners of the 1,000 Guineas and its Irish equivalent are, sadly, absent but today's Coronation Stakes nonetheless promises to be a fascinating encounter.

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Legatissimo skips the Royal Ascot Group One having instead been thwarted by Qualify at Epsom, while her Curragh counterpart Pleascach was denied by Curvy in yesterday's Ribblesdale.

In their stead, the respective Guineas runners-up Lucida and Found lead the Irish assault, with Jean-Claude Rouget's Ervedya flying the flag for Classic winners after her French Guineas triumph.

Ervedya mowed down her rivals on slow ground at Longchamp and might not be suited by this test of sheer speed. Jim Bolger's Lucida didn't appear to have any problem with the fast ground at Newmarket.

In a way, she emerged the moral winner that day, as she nearly dropped Kevin Manning when veering at the start. She was then asked to make some deliberate manoeuvres mid-race before leading two out, only to be used as the target at which Ryan Moore aimed Legatissimo.

A smoother conveyance could see her make amends now, but Found is preferred. On a line through Malabar, the two Guineas form lines look evenly matched. Found lost out on merit to Pleascach at the Curragh, but it is worth acknowledging that tactical masterclass deployed by Bolger and Manning on that occasion.

Found emerged with plenty credit in just failing to reel in Pleascach, and it is also notable that she slammed Ervedya by two-and-a-half lengths in Group One company at Longchamp as a juvenile.

Significantly, Aidan O'Brien, whose team are in rude health, swerved Epsom with Found to target this mile contest.

That decision will reap its reward now, with the presence in the saddle of an inspired Ryan Moore a bonus.

Eddie Lynam's 2014 Queen Mary heroine Anthem Alexander should go close in the inaugural Commonwealth Cup.

However, American sprint dynamo Wesley Ward might plunder the spoils with Coolmore's Moore-ridden Hootenanny. Last year's sharp Windsor Castle winner skated up on his Keeneland return, and Acapulco's success for Ward on Wednesday augured well ahead of this.

Selections - 2.30 Illuminate 3.05 Stravagante 3.40 Hootenanny 4.20 Found 5.00 Astronereus 5.35 Aloft

Irish Independent

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