Thursday 17 October 2019

O'Brien: 'Magna' on track for Curragh

Aidan O’Brien: Strong Curragh hand. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan O’Brien: Strong Curragh hand. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Magna Grecia is firmly on course to bid for a Classic double in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday.

The once-beaten Aidan O'Brien-trained colt added to his juvenile Group One success at Doncaster when lifting the first colts' Classic of the season at Newmarket in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas.

Speaking at Cork last night, O'Brien said: "The plan is to run most of our entries in both races (1,000 and 2,000 Guineas). Magna Grecia seems fine and is in good form and it was always the plan to come to the Curragh.

"Everything has gone well since (Newmarket). Hermosa, Fairyland, Just Wonderful and Coral Beach all look like they are going to run in the 1,000 Guineas (on Sunday), but Fleeting will wait for the Oaks."

O'Brien also confirmed high-class filly Magical will be seen in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on Sunday. He added: "The plan is for both Magical and Flag Of Honour to run in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. I Can Fly will instead run in the fillies' race (Lanwades Stud Stakes) and Magic Wand might not run and could wait for Ascot."

Today's feature at home is the €16,000 Racing Student Society Handicap Hurdle at Tipperary with Bay Hill looking like the one to beat. The eight-year-old came in third behind English raider Musical Slave at the Punchestown Festival but he would appear likely to defy his 3lbs rise for that with Gordon Elliott's Acronym primed to provide the main opposition.

In the bumper (8.20), it's difficult to look beyond Willie Mullins and Botani, which romped home at Kilbeggan and looks a strong contender this evening under Patrick Mullins.

Joseph O'Brien and Shane Shortall combined with a winner at Wexford yesterday and Stronghold can get that duo off to a good start today in Tipperary.

Meanwhile, there was a double at Cork last night for Godolphin when Highland Dress (4/1), ridden by Colm O'Donoghue for trainer John Oxx's first win of the year, and Mick Halford's Balefire (3/1), with Ronan Whelan up, scored in the famous silks.

Paul Townend and his boss Mullins struck for a double over jumps at Wexford earlier with Great White Shark (11/10) and Pont Aven (9/10) justifying favouritism for the all-conquering duo.

Irish Independent

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