Saturday 24 March 2018

O'Brien charge can prove class above Kinsella's Vivienne to end week on a high

Tony Hamilton riding Mickdaam (right) on the way to winning The Chester Vase from Model Pupil yesterday
Tony Hamilton riding Mickdaam (right) on the way to winning The Chester Vase from Model Pupil yesterday
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

County Louth-based Donal Kinsella has an audacious tilt at the Ormonde Stakes with Vivacious Vivienne on the final day of the Chester Festival this afternoon.

To date, the Dubai Destination mare's best effort came when she split Fame And Glory and Rite Of Passage in a Leopardstown Listed race over a similarly extended trip to today's one mile five furlongs.

While she is far from a no-hoper, with just four others expected to take part in this Group Three, she again has to contend with two superior-rated rivals.

Memphis Tennessee, fourth and third respectively in the Epsom and Irish Derbies last year, represents Aidan and Joseph O'Brien, with the Michael Owen-owned St Leger runner-up Brown Panther also in opposition.

Having finished clear of the St Leger winner Masked Marvel at Epsom, Memphis Tennessee is fancied to sign off what has been a mixed week on the Rodee for the Ballydoyle father-and-son partnership with a flourish.

O'Brien's Astrology might not be quite good enough in the Dee Stakes, though the David Marnane-trained Jamesie has a squeak in the opening handicap if his draw in stall seven doesn't prove too much of a hindrance.

As is also the case with Memphis Tennessee, the testing ground is an unknown for Jamesie, but he will progress for his seasonal bow behind Maarek at Naas and Ryan Moore's booking is an obvious plus.

Next week, cross-channel focus turns swiftly to York's Dante meeting, with the entries for Wednesday unveiled yesterday. O'Brien has entered Was, so impressive on her sole outing at the Curragh in August, in the 10-furlong Group Three, along with Twirl and Soon.

Jim Bolger has also given Alla Speranza, sixth in Sunday's 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the option of running, while Maarek appears among a list of 44 for the valuable six-furlong handicap.

Successful in three of his last four starts, the Pivotal five-year-old delivered his Fethard handler David Nagle a career-high victory when swooping late under Joseph O'Brien to land a similar contest at Newmarket on Sunday.

This weekend, the Coolmore juggernaut could bid to plunder further Group One spoils.


Following the decision to supplement last month's Guineas trial winner Furner's Green for Sunday's French 2,000 Guineas -- the Poule d'Essai des Poulains -- O'Brien has three left in the Longchamp showpiece, Nephrite and Vault being the other two.

In the filly's equivalent, the Pouliches, he can draw from Up, After and Soon, while David Wachman also has Fire Lily engaged.

John Oxx, meanwhile, has stated that Born To Sea will not drop back to sprint distances after his Invincible Spirit colt tired into 12th in the closing stages of the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday.

"The race was a bit of a non-event for him as he just pulled too hard," the Curragh handler reported of Sea The Stars' brother. "Even when the pace increased in the second furlong, he didn't drop the bit.

"If he settles better in future, I'm sure he'll run a good race. I think we'll stick to around the mile and if we do bring him back, it will only be by a furlong."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport