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Return of King' hits the rails


Kingsbarns, ridden by Joseph O'Brien. Picture: Nigel French/PA WIRE

Kingsbarns, ridden by Joseph O'Brien. Picture: Nigel French/PA WIRE

Kingsbarns, ridden by Joseph O'Brien. Picture: Nigel French/PA WIRE

A DATE for Kingsbarns' eagerly anticipated return to competitive action is still a bit away after his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, revealed yesterday that he won't run the three-year-old in Sunday's Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh.

Last season's Group One Racing Post Trophy winner hasn't been seen since winning on that occasion at Doncaster, and although holding an entry for HQ at the weekend, he will instead work after racing, according to the Ballydoyle trainer.



"We're conscious of where he's coming from and he's made great progress over the last few weeks, but, at this stage, we'd prefer to work him after racing on Sunday rather than race him."

The decision came after Kingsbarns worked at Ballydoyle yesterday morning and it was decided not to rush his return to racing action. O'Brien added that Fortify "worked well" and would be the sole Ballydoyle representative in the Group Three contest.

Another high-profile O'Brien inmate did get the go-ahead for the Curragh on Sunday, however, as next season's ante-post favourite for the 2,000 Guineas, War Command, is on course to line up in the Group One Phoenix Stakes.

A 20/1 surprise winner at Royal Ascot, the unbeaten colt annihilated the Coventry Stakes field by six lengths on that occasion under Seamie Heffernan and he will bid to enhance his reputation even further at the weekend.

"War Command worked well this morning and will definitely take his place in the Phoenix," O'Brien stated.

"There's also the possibility that we'll run Fountain Of Youth and Wilshire Boulevard."

Current big-race jockey Johnny Murtagh will look for his fifth Group One triumph since Royal Ascot when he rides Ambiance for Mick Channon in the Phoenix Stakes, while the Group Two Railway Stakes winner Sudirman is the other notable entry for David Wachman.



Eddie Lynam's Slade Power heads the potential runners in the Group Three Paypal Supporting Irish Autism Action Phoenix Sprint Stakes. Also among that list of entries is leading Irish sprinter Maarek, who will be having his first run for Barry Lalor should he line up.

A winner on Champions Day for David Nagle last season, Maarek has changed yards as he follows Lalor's new assistant trainer Evanna McCutcheon.