Curragh Preview - Sunday 10th October
Hot on the heels of the Newmarket version on Saturday afternoon, it's the Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh on Sunday afternoon. Ireland's Flat HQ stages a seven-race card on Sunday from 12.50pm-4.15pm with a pair of Listed events sitting alongside a series of challenging handicaps. The Racing Post brings you their preview ahead to the action in Co Kildare.
12.50 - Irish European Breeders Fund Median Sires Series Maiden (6f)
Not too many of these make strong appeal and the opening maiden could be a straight fight between Tartan Skirt and VIVAIA.
The former made a good first impression of 7f at Punchestown last month for trainer Michael O'Callaghan, shaping well for most of the journey before just wilting in the final furlong when finishing a length down in fourth. The Mehmas filly should build on that run, is potentially suited back at 6f and has her claims.
Kodiac filly Vivaia debuted for Dermot Weld over this trip in June and was well-held in fifth spot. That was a much stronger contest than this one, with winner Sacred Bridge bringing up a four-timer with wins at Tipperary, Naas and a Curragh Group 3 subsequently before losing her perfect record in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket last month. Second home Agartha was also a winner at Group 2/Group 3 level afterwards.
Back from a break, the Moyglare Stud filly could be the one here with Colin Keane taking over in the saddle.
Next Best: Tartan Skirt
1.20 - Staffordstown Stud Stakes (Fillies' Listed, 1m)
As with the opening contest, there are two fillies here with strong credentials, namely SUNSET SHIRAZ and Limiti Di Greccio, with Gavin Cromwell's daughter of Time Test taken to oblige.
She is still a maiden after five runs but her form in recent months decrees that she won't maintain that status for much longer.
She has finished second, third and second at this venue on her last three starts over 7f (soft/good), all those coming in Group-race company, including last month's Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. She eases back into Listed company now and the increased journey over this mile should be within her compass.
Limiti Di Greccio won a Leopardstown maiden (7f, good to yielding) in August having joined Paddy Twomey after two previous outings and she followed that up with a pleasing second over the same C&D in Listed company last month, with some of these rivals behind.
Johnny Murtagh's once-raced Dundalk winner Angels Wrath has her sights raised quickly and must be noted, while Viareggio was impressive in a C&D handicap a fortnight ago and could make further progress for Jessica Harrington. She runs three in this, with Shane Foley seemingly giving preference to last-time-out Punchestown maiden winner Alizarine - though they have plenty to find on Limiti Di Greccio from their previous meeting.
Selection: Sunset Shiraz
Next Best: Angels Wrath
1.55 - Hatstone Solicitors Waterford Testimonial Stakes (Listed, 6f)
There's a few of these that have yet to suggest they are up to scoring in Listed company but not so TERESA MENDOZA for Ken Condon and Billy Lee. The locally-based trainer has seen his Territories filly put in some excellent efforts in defeat here since she won a C&D maiden on debut last summer.
She was twice-placed at Group 3/Listed level over track and trip in June and has generally been running with credit since in good races. Last month's Listed fourth at Ayr (5½f, good to firm) was another solid showing and a return to this slightly slower surface over a C&D she knows so well looks sure to suit. If first-time cheekpieces have a positive effect, Teresa Mendoza should be right in the firing line.
Power Under Me came very close in a Naas Group 3 on soft over this trip in May for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane and ran creditably here afterwards in group events over 6f/7f. That form gives her leading claims, though last month's Renaissance Stakes run was a little underwhelming. Nothing of Art Power's quality lurks here, however.
Strong Johnson has been very busy of late and the powerful front-running sort can never be dismissed if he gets in the groove, while Ballydoyle duo Friendly and More Beautiful are respected and it will be interesting to see how Thank You Next goes having joined Henry De Bromhead.
Selection: Teresa Mendoza
Next Best: Power Under Me
2.30 - Duralock Racecourse Fencing Handicap (5f)
Top-weight That's Mad comes here in superb fettle for Leanne Breen having won 3-4 starts since early July. The most recent of those was over C&D a fortnight ago in a stronger handicap than this one. He's 4lb higher now but Kevin Manning's mount is dangerous to overlook in his present mood.
Texas Rock is the old boy in this line-up at 10 years old but he won over 6f here in August and had another excellent showing on the board at Navan in midweek, so he's got to be considered.
Dragons Call wasn't far behind him in that midweek contest and comes here with conditions in his favour but so, too, does PRETTY BOY FLOYD.
All of his wins have come on soft/heavy, including over 6f here 12 months ago. He won at Haydock in May and has run some good races in defeat since, including second behind Strong Johnson over C&D (good) in August. With conditions favourable now and Colin Keane back in the plate, he's got plenty going for him.
Selection: Pretty Boy Floyd
Next Best: That's Mad
3.05 - Paddy Power Irish Cesarewitch (Extended Handicap, 2m)
Not quite the marathon distance that was run at Newmarket on Saturday but still an exacting two-mile challenge in store here for a bumper field of 30 runners.
At the time of writing only Turnpike Trip trades at a single-figure price. Cathal Byrnes' charge of course won a Newmarket Cesarewitch Trial over 2m2f last month. He's certainly got claims but a career-high mark of 88 demands a personal best.
Dewcup remains a maiden after six Flat runs for Ted Walsh but was a close second over C&D behind Dalton Highway in June and commands some interest now. Dalton Highway was a winner again at Killarney (2m1f, good) on his only Flat start since and trainer Dermot Weld opts for a 10lb claimer to offset his burden now.
The Rosewell House trainer also has Azallya in the mix, the filly last spotted winning a 1m4f soft-ground Cork maiden in August and the mount of Colin Keane here.
Emmet Mullins won this race a year ago with the superbly campaigned Cape Gentleman and he saddles Sevenna Star now. Returning to this 2m trip will suit and he's certainly well-handicapped on the best of his British form.
Willie Mullins too has a strong team and MY SISTER SARAH should go well under Ben Coen. She won over this trip at Listowel in June and ran solid races on the Flat/over hurdles at the Galway Festival in July. She's not fully exposed in this code and a mark of 83 could be manageable. Stablemates Royal Illusion and N'Golo are notables, while Benaud could have a big say for Joseph O'Brien with his talented 5lb claimer on board if they see the trip out.
Selection: My Sister Sarah
Next Best: Dewcup
3.40 - Bord Na Mona Recycling Apprentice Handicap (1m)
Loingseoir has bagged two wins this season and found only one too strong on a visit to Tipperary (1m1f, soft to heavy) last week. He comes here with a solid claim from the same mark.
Preference today though is for VERY EXCELLENT to break his maiden tag for Andrew McNamara. A hurdles winner last summer, he's been knocking on the door of late with excellent efforts in defeat at Galway and Listowel last month. Ground conditions are fine on his National Hunt form and he seems a likely player with Cian McRedmond on board for this apprentice contest.
Another maiden, Estoppel, improved when fourth over 1m1f on soft ground at Leopardstown on soft ground in August and should raise a challenge here for the Sheila Lavery team in a wide open contest.
Selection: Very Excellent
Next Best: Estoppel
4.15 - Sentinel Ireland Handicap (6f)
PRINCESS PLUMERIA debuts for a new trainer here and could give the Cleary team of Tom and Rory a Curragh winner. The daughter of Exceed And Excel wasn't beaten far in a soft-ground C&D maiden in August - her first start since March and third overall - and she certainly backed that run up last month when justifying favouritism to win a maiden claimer on the Polytrack at Dundalk in good style under Colin Keane. On that evidence a mark of 68 is well within reach.
In-form hat-trick seeker She's In The Game has to be a feared rival despite another 6lb rise in the ratings for her win at Cork last month, while another Cork winner, Karlsberg, is also shortlisted having scored at the Mallow venue in August.
Lyons and Keane meanwhile rely on their own last-time-out Cork scorer Secret Road. She's not got many miles on the clock and has been improving all the while of late, showing a good attitude to get that win on the board 12 days ago.
Selection: Princess Plumeria
Next Best: Karlsberg