Saturday 24 August 2019

O'Brien can foil his father with Lordan in Curragh fillies' feature

Joseph O'Brien's (pictured) Iridessa is likely to head the market having extended clear to land the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Kildare track last month. Photo: Sportsfile
Joseph O'Brien's (pictured) Iridessa is likely to head the market having extended clear to land the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Kildare track last month. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

There has scarcely been a lucrative Irish pot dominated by the raiding party quite like today's Group One Kerrygold Irish Oaks (5.10) and there's plenty of interest from abroad once again as they bid to plunder the €400,000 pot.

Eight of the last 10 winners of the fillies' classic have made the trip across the Irish Sea and the red-hot team of John Gosden and Frankie Dettori - who scored with Enable two years ago - combine with Ribblesdale heroine Star Catcher at the Curragh today.

This is a decent step up in grade from her latest Group Two win at Royal Ascot, however, with several proven performers at the top level, while Ralph Beckett is represented by Manuela De Vega and Antonia De Vega.

The home team will be doing everything possible to keep the spoils on these shores and Joseph O'Brien's Iridessa is likely to head the market having extended clear to land the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Kildare track last month.

That was the first time the Ruler Of The World filly raced beyond a mile and she took it in her stride, so there's no reason to suggest that 12 furlongs will be any inconvenience for Wayne Lordan's mount.

Aidan O'Brien saddles three with Pink Dogwood being partnered by stable jockey Ryan Moore, but Iridessa had her number last time out and there's no reason to suggest that she can turn the tables.

The Group Two Minstrel Stakes (4.35) sees a little bit of history as 2015 and 2016 winner Gordon Lord Byron makes his 100th career start, but Tom Hogan's loveable veteran isn't expected to make the frame in a decent contest.

Four challengers stand out on form figures with English raiders Hey Gaman (James Tate), Mr Lupton (Richard Fahey) and John Quinn's Safe Voyage given the highest of respect, but slight preference is for Romanised.

Ken Condon's charge has been keeping the best of company with successive fourth-place finishes at Group One level and the time may be right for him to claim his first victory since last year's Irish 2,000 Guineas success.

Aidan O'Brien's Pistoletto will be all the rage in the Group Three Anglesey Stakes (4.0) but short odds represent little value and Soul Search (e/w) appeals at double figures with Ger Lyons' charge just touched off on debut nine days ago at Leopardstown.

All eyes are also on the Curragh tomorrow with the Group Two Sapphire Stakes (3.10) an intriguing contest jammed with English challengers, although Eddie Lynam's Soffia is taken to continue her upward curve.

The Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes (3.45) is another quality affair with William Haggas' top-rated Move Swiftly taken to build on her Royal Ascot victory.

Irish Independent

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