O'Brien eyes US bonanza but Lyons can justify faith to take Tipperary feature
Bigger prizes than the Listed Coolmore Caravaggio Stakes (3.40) at Tipperary tomorrow are on Aidan O'Brien's radar this weekend but it's a contest the Ballydoyle maestro has dominated as he bids for his fourth successive victory.
O'Brien saddles two runners in an intriguing seven-runner affair but neither are likely to go off favourite as Royal County Down tackles this company for the first time having just held on to land a Galway handicap last week.
Harpocrates made it fifth-time lucky when getting off the mark at Naas on Sunday and is also respected but he has three-quarters of a length to make up on Vitalogy from their meeting at the Kildare track last month.
Joseph O'Brien's charge was a shock 25/1 debut winner and is open to any amount of improvement while the same can be said of Ger Lyons' Justifier.
The Free Eagle colt got the better of Armory - winner of last month's Group Three Tyros Stakes when Justifier was scratched due to a temperature - in a winning debut at Leopardstown in June.
Justifier holds entries in some top two-year-old contests later this year, as does Vitalogy, but Colin Keane's mount is preferred to land the feature prize of the day at the Tipperary track.
All eyes will be on Illinois just after midnight tonight as Aidan O'Brien looks to get his hands on the Arlington Million (12.12) for the third time following victories for Powerscourt (2005) and Cape Blanco (2011).
O'Brien sends Hunting Horn - Magic Wand is declared but likely to tackle the earlier Beverly D Stakes (10.53) along with Fleeting - in search of the €500,000 winners' purse but Ryan Moore's mount faces a stiff task.
Chad Brown has won the last three renewals and saddles hot favourite Bricks And Mortar, bidding for a sixth successive win, while O'Brien also sends Never No More (Moore) and Van Beethoven (Wayne Lordan) into battle in the Secretariat Stakes (11.28) at the US track.
Plunder He isn't the only one out to plunder a prize on foreign ground as Ken Condon sends last year's Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Romanised and Success Days to France tomorrow for the Group One Prix Jacques Le Marois (3.25) at Deauville.
Jessica Harrington's wonder filly Alpha Centauri landed the €1million prize last year but Romanised may find one too good in the shape of Francis-Henri Graffard's Royal Ascot winner Watch Me.
Elsewhere, Charles Byrnes' Shanpallas is worth a market check in the handicap chase (8.05) at Kilbeggan tonight having fallen 30lb in the weights in two years.