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Imperial class to sweep rivals aside

David Wachman can continue the fine start that he has made to the new season when he saddles Imperial Rome in the European Breeders' Fund Tetrarch Stakes on this afternoon's bank holiday programme at The Curragh.

The seven-furlong Listed event features Jim Bolger's long-standing maiden Glor Na Mara, as well as the smart Alexander Pope. That one ran out a seven-length winner from Final Recovery on its final start of the last campaign at Dundalk in December, prior to showing up well when sixth in a Group Three at Meydan in March.

Alexander Pope will pose a more potent threat now, but Imperial Rome should prevail. Last November, he easily landed a maiden at Dundalk, and followed up in similar fashion off 90 three weeks ago, with Final Recovery 14 lengths behind.


While he drops a furlong in trip today, Wayne Lordan's mount can continue to improve.

The two other pattern races on the card can go the way of Ballydoyle. In the Mooresbridge Stakes, the Australian racing sensation So You Think, in which Coolmore has purchased a controlling interest, makes its European debut under Seamie Heffernan.

A five-time Group One winner over nine and 10 furlongs before his stamina gave out when finishing third in the Melbourne Cup in November, So You Think faces little in the way of a legitimate threat in today's Group Three. With just five inferior rivals, there will be long faces all round if he fails to get his season off on the right foot.

Look At Me's task in the Athasi Stakes is far less straightforward, but she showed plenty promise when second to Havant at Newmarket in October.

In a nine-strong field that lacks strength in depth for a Group Three, last year's winner Lolly For Dolly is the most likely danger.

The inaugural running of the Dermot Earley Memorial Handicap follows at 3.50. A tricky 21-runner contest for horses rated between 50 and 80, this is going to take some winning.

Recent Curragh second Notgonnagiveup and the consistent Flash McGahon will be popular, but preference is for Ado McGuinness' Ultra Cool. A winner over course and distance in October, this is just the four-year-old's second term racing.

If Ultra Cool can build on her respectable reappearance at Leopardstown, she should figure prominently. Later, Johnny Murtagh could secure a brace courtesy of Casbah Rock and Dance Secretary.

When third at Dundalk on Saturday, Casbah Rock may not have quite got home over 12 furlongs so the drop to 10 is expected to suit in the penultimate handicap, while Dance Secretary is the form choice in the concluding maiden.

Irish Independent