Eyes are needed in the back of your head to keep in touch with all of the Irish runners this weekend, with today’s Group Three Eyrefield Stakes (5.10) at Leopardstown the highlight of action on home soil.
Jim Bolger has landed five of the last seven renewals and he holds another ace this time around in Boundless Ocean, which will be making his third start in nine days having only debuted this month.
The Teofilo colt was second at the Curragh before finding in-running traffic when fourth in a similar event here last week, behind Aidan O’Brien’s Glounthaune, and he looks sure to be in the mix under Kevin Manning.
There is quality opposition in his way, though, with William Haggas sending over recent Nottingham scorer Grenoble in a contest where nine of the 14 runners have already been on the scoresheet.
That includes O’Brien’s Thurles nursery winner Anchorage and Dermot Weld’s Duke De Sassa, but Bolger often has an ace up his sleeve at this time of the season and Boundless Ocean can break his maiden tag with ground conditions to his liking.
The earlier Listed Knockaire Stakes (3.25) sees Noel Meade’s Elysium out to frank her return to form when landing a similar affair at Naas last week, but Ger Lyons’ Masen could prove a tough nut to crack.
Colin Keane’s mount landed a premier handicap over course and distance at Irish Champions Weekend and could yet be bound for the Breeders’ Cup, with the son of Kingman favoured to follow up his career best at the Foxrock track last month.
It’s all about the return of Rachael Blackmore at Galway today as she mounts her comeback following a fractured ankle and a hip injury aboard Aintree National second Balko Des Flos in a handicap hurdle (3.37).
The Tipperary jockey, 32, also has one mount at Wexford tomorrow – again for her boss Henry de Bromhead on Upping The Anti in a maiden hurdle (2.35) – but the best bet of that card lies in the opening maiden hurdle (1.25), where Paul Nolan’s Chiricahua can make amends for a late fall at Listowel under Bryan Cooper.
Irish eyes will also turn to France today where Aidan O’Brien aims to land the Criterium International (12.58) for the second year running, with a pair of contenders as Glounthaune and Aikhal vie for Group One glory at Saint-Cloud.
Kerry jockey Oisín Murphy partners the Joseph O’Brien-trained Buckaroo in the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud (1.33), with Frankie Detttori aboard the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Unconquerable, while their father Aidan saddles outsider Stone Age.
There will only be minimal Irish interest in Australia for the Spring Carnival with increased restrictions for European runners, but that hasn’t deterred two-time Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Joseph O’Brien.
He saddles Saratoga Derby winner State Of Rest in the prestigious Cox Plate (7.10) at Moonee Valley today as Cork jockey John Allen eyes another lucrative Group One prize.
The Prix Royal-Oak (2.50) at Longchamp also has an Irish shine with dual Classic winner Search For A Song eyeing the French Leger under Colin Keane – the pair also combine with Emilie Gray in the Listed Prix de Saint-Cyr (3.25) – while Emmet Mullins bids for a maiden Group One success as he sends Zero Ten over for just his fourth start on the level.