Friday 23 March 2018

O'Brien set to dominate at Curragh

Trainer Aidan O’Brien. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Trainer Aidan O’Brien. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

It is not so much whether or not Aidan O'Brien will have a winner on day two of Champions Weekend at the Curragh - but if he will have three, four or five of them.

So it seems, anyway, with Order Of St George a near-certainty in what is his third appearance in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger. It is one of three Group Ones O'Brien dominates today.

The only 'Classic' race of the day, albeit one that barely deserves that moniker as it is an all-aged contest, is deeply disappointing in that Big Orange is not there to make Order Of St George a more backable price.

Most people agree that Wicklow Brave got a far better ride than the hot favourite 12 months ago; expect a different tale tomorrow.

Clemmie has been declared in the Moyglare and Ryan Moore is booked, but there must be a major chance that she is scratched and Moore switches to Magical, which is the mount of Donnacha O'Brien.

She showed her liking for an ease in the Debutante but, with some doubt about the Ballydoyle runners, Royal Ascot runner-up Alpha Centauri gets a tentative nod for Jessica Harrington.

Gustav Klimt, O'Brien stresses, would resent heavy terrain in a Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes that is minus ante-post favourite Expert Eye, which would surely have served it up to the Ballydoyle horse.

However, Gustav Klimt overcame all manner of trouble to win at Newmarket and is potentially top-class. Caravaggio is already top-class, so he is opposed with reluctance in the Flying Five, but on what could be unsuitable ground Son Of Rest is preferred.

Much will depend on the rain. Some more is certain, but Caravaggio is fine on soft.

The opening 'Bold Lad' Sprint Handicap could suit David Marnane's Alfredo Arcano and provide Marnane with a much-needed winner, while Moore partnering Rain Goddess over Seventh Heaven is a major talking point in the Blandford.

Fozzy Stack, trainer of Son Of Rest, can further boost his bank balance in the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes with Goodthingstaketime the nap, while Panstarr gets a tentative vote in the finale for Jim Bolger.

Irish Independent

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