Wednesday 23 January 2019

Hermosa leads O'Brien's raiding party

Trainer Aidan O’Brien. Photo: INPHO
Trainer Aidan O’Brien. Photo: INPHO
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Aidan O'Brien brings a formidable battalion to Newmarket today as the Ballydoyle maestro goes in search of another Group One success in the Fillies' Mile (3.35).

Group Three scorer Hermosa leads his charge and having finished a creditable third behind Skitter Scatter in the Moyglare, the daughter of Galileo made no mistake to take the Weld Park Stakes at Naas in good style.

Closely matched on form with stable companion Zagitova, the pair make a bold bid to take the €570,000 prize which O'Brien prevailed in with Together Forever (2014), Minding (2015) and Rhododendron (2016) in recent years.

His son Joseph also saddles Killarney maiden winner Iridessa but she faces a stiff task at the top level, while O'Brien's Sergei Prokofiev and Fantasy are on retrieval missions in the opening Group Three Cornwallis Stakes (1.50) after disappointing runs.

Better will be expected when they take their place alongside Johnny Murtagh's Yolo Again, while Ballydoyle's comfortable Dundalk scorer Frosty makes a significant step up in grade to tackle the Group Three Oh So Sharp Stakes (2.25).

Globe-trotting

Tom Hogan's globe-trotting Gordon Lord Byron bids to end a run of 19 races without a win in the Group Two Challenge Stakes (3.0), while on the other end of the spectrum, O'Brien's Astronomer aims to make it five wins on the spin in the Old Rowley Cup (4.10).

O'Brien will be represented by a trio of runners with Futurity winner Anthony Van Dyck, Christmas and Royal Lodge scorer Mohawk among seven in tomorrow's Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. The field is headed by John Gosden's two-year-old Too Darn Hot, which looks the one to beat as he tackles Group One company for the first time in a competitive field.

Meanwhile, Willie Mullins bids to maintain his stranglehold on long-distance staying contests on the Flat as the master of Closutton sends seven in search of tomorrow's Cesarewitch at the Suffolk track.

Stratum heads the betting for the 34-runner €570,000 contest and Mullins also has Low Sun, Whiskey Sour, Uradel, Cheltenham Festival heroine Limini, Law Girl and Meri Devie in his septet with O'Brien saddling Irish St Leger third Southern France.

Elsewhere, Ed Dunlop's Global Giant can go one better than his Group Three third at the track two weeks ago to take tonight's Listed Carlingford Stakes (8.0) at Dundalk.

Irish Independent

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