Bolger aims Parish Hall at Guineas
DESPITE the race falling only a week before Epsom, the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas on Saturday will not only measure the form of Camelot but could also produce a threat to the Derby favourite.
Hermival, the French colt which was third to Camelot in the Newmarket Guineas, was yesterday made 5/1 co-favourite among 15 acceptors for the Curragh version by Paddy Power, along with Takar and Power -- but another leading fancy is Parish Hall, whose trainer Jim Bolger intends to send him on to the Derby only a week later.
Highly unorthodox as that preparation might seem, you will do well to find anyone prepared to tell Bolger that he is being too audacious with a colt last seen winning the Dewhurst Stakes.
One way or another, then, it should prove a most instructive race. Along with Camelot himself, Hermival had to overcome inexperience at Newmarket, and was also divided by the width of the track from the first two.
Takar, meanwhile, made a striking return in a Listed race over the Curragh course earlier in the month, though trainer John Oxx may also give another chance at a mile to Born To Sea, which failed to settle first time at Newmarket.
Power was still more disappointing there, having looked outstanding beforehand, and is one of seven candidates to win this for a fourth time in five years for Aidan O'Brien. But the Ballydoyle supremo reserves the right to drop either Power or Nephrite back to six furlongs on the same card, having left both in the Greenlands Stakes.
The champion trainer -- who has collected the one-mile Classic with the likes of Rock Of Gibraltar (2002), Henrythenavigator (2008) and last year with Roderic O'Connor -- is bidding for his eighth success in the Classic.
Perhaps the most intriguing O'Brien acceptor is Daddy Long Legs, winner of the UAE Derby at Meydan in March but then finished tailed off in the Kentucky Derby, his second disappointment in two visits to Churchill Downs.
"When he ran in the Breeders' Cup, we just thought he wasn't sharp enough away," O'Brien said. "But we've decided now he just doesn't handle the surface there, even though he's bred to."
As for Power, he describes the Newmarket failure as "inconclusive" with Ryan Moore reporting him just unsuited by the soft.
Eddie Lynam's 2011 Temple Stakes hero Sole Power is one of 19 sprinters in the running for this season's renewal at Haydock on Saturday, though the Co Meath handler is on the lookout for a jockey as Johnny Murtagh is likely to be in action at the Curragh.
Lynam's experienced traveller, just beaten in Dubai last time, faces a rematch with the Bryan Smart-trained Tangerine Trees, which became a Group One star himself when winning the Prix de l'Abbaye.
Roger Charlton's Bated Breath, beaten just a nose in the Sprint Cup at the course last season, is another eminent speed merchant among the entries -- although he is also engaged in the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh.
Meanwhile, Frankel has been officially raised 2lb to 138 for his latest rout at Newbury last Saturday. The unbeaten four-year-old is now formally ratified as the best since Dancing Brave, rated 141 in 1986. (© Independent News Service)