Paul Jacobs: Flag of Honour can fly in Sunday’s Curragh Cup

Our racing expert considers the the card at the Curragh on Sunday, where Aidan O'Brien has three runner in the race of the day....


Aidan O’Brien has landed four of the last five renewals of the Curragh Cup (17.15), Joseph kept in the family with Melbourne Cup hero Rekindling last year, and the Ballydoyle maestro seems to have a hold on this year’s renewal with a trio of unexposed three-year-old’s set to line-up.

Sometimes it is hard to read what is going on with the team ethics. whether they be good or indifferent with the maestro and his connections, but I suspect if Flag of Honour is allowed to show his true colours here then he looks the most likely of the three to land the booty in this Group Two event over a mile-and-three-quarters.

I say ‘allowed’ because he was merely used as a hare for stable mate Hunting Horn (subsequent Hampton Court winner at Royal Ascot) in the Chester Vase before fading into fifth spot. But apart from the winner, Young Rascal, who ran inexplicably flat in the Epsom Derby, the form looks rock solid with Dee Ex Bee in second spot that afternoon.

I fancy a fast ground well run at 1m6f will suit this son of Galileo down to the ground and this could merely be a stepping stone to one of the St Legers for him. Pallasator was impressive when landing the lung-bursting Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot last week, but this could prove on the sharp side for this giant son of Motivator.

KILDARE, IRELAND – SEPTEMBER 10: A general view as runners leave the stalls from the six forlong start at Curragh Racecourse on September 10, 2017 in Kildare, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

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Forever Together has a simple task against her elders in the feature Pretty Polly Stakes at 16.40 after which the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood will most probably be her next port of call. However, she will be a short price and better a value wager could come in the form of Agent Zigzag in the closing handicap at 17.50.

The John Oxx trained four-year-old has taken time to come to hand, but finally showed some gears when landing his maiden over a mile at Killarney last time out by seven lengths. This step into handicap company obviously requires a deal more, but an opening salvo of 82 looks about right and he has any amount of improvement to come.

By Galileo out of a Celtic Swing mare, it would be a fair pun to say that Mount Everest is bred to hit the heights in the opening maiden at 13.45, but this Derby entry has been well flagged up at home and apparently is ‘expected’.

The Grangecon Stud Stakes (first run in 2005) has been won quite often by a precocious filly and although Fleeting could fit the bill she hardly looked straightforward on her debut at Limerick and while the return to six furlongs for the Queen Mary fourth So Perfect should suit, I am going to oppose both O’Brien fillies with Lethal Promise.

KILDARE, IRELAND – SEPTEMBER 10: A general view as runners ease down after finishing at Curragh Racecourse on September 10, 2017 in Kildare, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Although she was entitled to land her maiden readily at odds of 4/11 last time out, it was a clear career best for this daughter of Invincible Spirit a view firmly backed up by her good time figure. This fast ground plays to her strengths and she could provide us with a bit of value against the O’Brien brigade.

Finally, for handicap viewers, the old boy Red Avenger looks sure to go close in the seven furlong event at 14.20, but he may just lack a bit of toe nowadays to deal with Ice Cold In Alex. A fast run race over this stiff track looks made to measure for this son of Olden Times and he may be able to cut down his rivals close home in this valuable all-aged affair.

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What do you think?