Fame And Glory to get back in groove
A year on from his tame odds-on defeat in the Gain Horse Feeds Irish St Leger, Fame And Glory returns to the Curragh for a second tilt at the longest Group One in the domestic calendar.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt is an easier favourite this time at 2/1 and is the only Ballydoyle horse to be granted the opportunity to complete a St Leger double for the stable, should Camelot fulfil his end of the bargain at Doncaster.
John Gosden, who is bidding for back-to-back successes here with Aiken after Duncan shared the spoils with Jukebox Jury in a thriller last year, also has runners in both races, as does Tommy Carmody.
In his first year at Johnny Murtagh's Pollardstown yard, Carmody has made a big impact and it would be no great surprise if Royal Diamond -- just denied in the Ebor at York -- was to supply both him and Niall McCullagh with a first win at the highest level.
Tom Dascombe's Michael Owen-owned Brown Panther, second at Doncaster 12 months ago, has the same potential, while champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins saddles Simenon in his bid for a debut Group One.
Brown Panther is a very interesting contender. With the going now yielding and drying, his ability to handle testing going will not come into play as much but he is nonetheless a solid campaigner over this trip. He was second to the highly progressive Mount Athos at Newbury, having run a stunning race to be beaten just four lengths behind Danedream, Nathaniel and St Nicholas Abbey in the King George. He arguably boasts the best current form.
Indeed, if Fame And Glory doesn't perform, he might never get a better chance to win a Group One. But if the real Fame And Glory does turn up, he should have the class to get his campaign back on track.
Jamie Spencer's mount was disappointing when well held in his attempt to secure successive Gold Cups at Royal Ascot. That is a worry but with just one outing prior to that, he is lightly raced this year. What's more, his astute handler would hardly persist if he didn't think there was another day in him, so the six-year-old could be poised for a return to form now.
Joseph O'Brien is due to arrive by helicopter to partner Cristoforo Colombo in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes that concludes proceedings.
Nevis, impressive at Leopardstown in July, is another Ballydoyle contender with prospects in the €200,000 Group One, but Dawn Approach is hard to oppose.
Jim Bolger's unbeaten son of New Approach, which Sheikh Mohammed purchased a controlling share in after his Coventry Stakes triumph at Ascot, is still the standard bearer. While he steps up to seven furlongs for a first time, that is no real concern for a horse that possesses such a willing attitude.
The first half of the card could belong to David Wachman and Wayne Lordan, with Orator, Hot Bed and Fire Lily all fancied in their respective contests. Orator's third at Killarney is as encouraging as any of the form on offer in the opening juvenile maiden, while Hot Bed is nap material in the Glanbia Handicap.
That one-mile heat is a competitive 15-runner affair, but Hot Bed was a shade unlucky when just pipped on the line by Stuccodor at Killarney. Lordan had little option but to commit early on that day and while the result went against him, his mount lost little in defeat to a similarly progressive rival.
In the Newbridge 200 Renaissance Stakes, Fire Lily will face a more potent Starspangledbanner than when brushing him aside in the Phoenix Sprint, but she still looks the one to beat.