Sport Horse Racing

Friday 24 November 2017

Only Mine looks the part as show goes on at Curragh

Only Mine handles an ease, and since October 2015 her rating of 105 has deviated little, giving her an edge over tomorrow’s foes. (Stock picture)
Only Mine handles an ease, and since October 2015 her rating of 105 has deviated little, giving her an edge over tomorrow’s foes. (Stock picture)

Johnny Ward

The redevelopment of the Curragh - which is ongoing - was overdue to the extent that it created a poor picture of Irish racing authorities.

The ownership of the old place is nothing if not complex. Early in the decade, the Standhouse Hotel, which the Aga Khan had essentially bought and donated to the Turf Club, was knocked.

That the hotel was bulldozed in 2011, yet little or nothing else changed until earlier this year, illustrated the funereal pace of the redevelopment of a track that should showcase Irish racing's place at the front of the pile. Instead, it was to racing what the 'Bloody Sunday' Croke Park clip in Michael Collins being shot in the Carlisle Grounds was to the League of Ireland.

Ivan Yates' well-reasoned argument here on Tuesday about the folly of racing there during renovation will have found many nodding heads. Ultimately, given the power of Coolmore and its close relationship with Flat HQ, it was improbable that racing would move elsewhere for the Guineas, Derby and Champions Weekend meets - though I must confess I have been converted too.

Having Classic fixtures at a glorified point-to-point track is not ideal but the place was a kip before it was knocked and the facilities are up to scratch in the context of a temporary structure. The horses should matter most and the track remains the fairest test in Irish racing.

Tomorrow's fare is interesting - especially the Group Three TRM Ballyogan Stakes (3.25), in which Only Mine is a stand-out. Her dad, Pour Moi, has an unusual history - he had regressed into the jumps roster at Coolmore by the time he sired a Derby winner in Wings Of Eagles. Pour Moi's conversion to the jumps roster belies the fact that he can implant quite a bit of speed in his progeny, chiefly Only Mine which is the best offspring of the stallion to race bar Wings Of Eagles.

She also handles an ease, and since October 2015 her rating of 105 has deviated little, giving her an edge over tomorrow's foes.

Likeable The Listed Silver Stakes (4.25) sees another well-fancied member of the fairer sex in Laganore. A really likeable filly and the best one Tony Martin has trained, she is bullet-proof in this class and looks certain to run a big race under Seamus Heffernan.

Ronan O'Gara maintains an interest in racing and Bachelor runs in his colours in the opening maiden (2.10). A son of the under-rated Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph O'Brien's colt ran a blinder on is recent course debut, and he may edge Aidan O'Brien's Mount Wellington, which now sports cheekpieces.

Camellia Japonica - a stable ally of Pour Moi - might offer some value in the fillies' handicap (2.45). Joe Murphy's course winner is down to a rating (73) that is certainly there to be exploited if she can revert to the pick of her form.

Andy Slattery's honesty in interviews is endearing and many a bet has been placed after hearing him give an upbeat assessment. A Few Dollars More is knocking on the door and could prise it open in the sprint handicap (3.20) under Declan McDonagh, though Rattling Jewel is feared - for all that the stone he got for winning here on Guineas weekend seems harsh.

Dermot McLoughlin has had some fun with Dragon Fei, though a win record of three from 38 is hardly too exciting. What is notable is that two of those successes were at the Curragh, one of them in the 2014 renewal of today's penultimate contest (5.00). She appreciates an ease, and has a smashing rider in Billy Lee.

The finale (5.30) is the least appealing betting race of the day but something has to win and Consancio might. He is by Authorized; so is Sternrubin, which gave the impression at Windsor last month that a step up in trip would suit. Time will tell, so will the Maywai Handicap (3.40) at Goodwood tomorrow.


Willie Mullins has strong representation in both Grade Ones at Auteuil tomorrow. He relies on Shaneshill in the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil (2.45) and Dandy Ma and Bapaume in the Prix Alain du Breil - Course de Haies d'Ete des Quatre Ans (4.05). Nicky Henderson's L'Ami Serge seemed to throw in the towel in the prep here for the big one last time but he should be bang there if held onto a bit longer.


2.10 Curragh : Bachelor

2.45 Curragh: Camellia Japonica

3.40 Goodwood : Sternrubin

3.55 Curragh: Only Mine

4.25 Curragh: Laganore

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