WEMBLEY went into many notebooks when catching the eye on debut here nearly three-weeks ago and it’s no surprise that jockey Wayne Lordan takes the ride in this opening 7-furlong maiden at the Curragh.
The son of Galileo showed a nice turn of foot up the inside rail to finish third on debut behind stable-mate Hudson River with today’s rivals, Mac Swiney in fifth and Snowy Owl in eighth.
Hudson River has let the form down since with defeat in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, but Wembley’s experience over many of these rivals should see him break his maiden for Aidan O’Brien.
Colour Sergeant looks the main danger for Ger Lyons following his third at Fairyhouse on debut, while the betting could prove the best guide for the more interesting newcomers, Cold Steel and Erzindjan.
It was nice to see Twilight Payment return to winning ways under an excellent front running ride from Wayne Lordan here last month in the Vintage Crop Stakes, with the Llyod Williams-owned runner now looking for back-to-back wins in this International Curragh Cup.
Declan McDonagh takes over the ride this Saturday, where similar front running tactics will be used in what looks a very intriguing renewal of this Group 2 contest. Joseph O’Brien’s seven-year-old had Giuseppe Garibaldi further down the field in seventh place in the Vintage Crop, while stable-mate and our selection, MASTER OF REALITY finished sixth.
That was a good seasonal return from Master Of Reality, who only got tired in the closing two-furlongs under jockey Shane Crosse following his last run in the Melbourne Cup last November. The five-year-old is rated the best horse here on 117 and can return to winning ways under a patience ride from Crosse to secure his first victory since the Vintage Crop Stakes of 2019.
Cypress Creek is having a first run for race-sponsor Luke Comer, while Aidan O’Brien’s Memorabilis looks an interesting runner having landed a Fairyhouse maiden last month.
Romanised was an unlucky loser of the Group 1 Prix du Moulin in Paris last September and makes his seasonal return for Ken Condon in this Group 2 Minstrel Stakes, sponsored by Paddy Power.
The former Irish Guineas winner is looking for back-to-back wins in this race and is rated vastly superior to these rivals, but the main concern is fitness having not raced since finishing second to Cirus Maxiumus at Longchamp last year. The lack of a recent run could prove his downfall against an improving Aidan O’Brien runner in LANCASTER HOUSE, who gets the verdict here under jockey Wayne Lordan.
Despite racing off level weights, Lancaster House could have enough class to see off the former Classic winner with 7 furlongs looking ideal again for the four-year-old. His seasonal return and victory in the Gladness Stakes has worked out well to boost the form and his chances today, with the second horse home Speak In Colours winning both the Greenlands and Ballcorus Stakes’ since.
A similar front running ride from Lordan can see Lancaster House win here and put the fitness concerns of Romanised into serious question in the closing stages before progressing into Group 1 company later this year.
Aidan O’Brien can join Vincent O’Brien with 14-winners of the Railway Stakes if either Forest Of Dreams or Merchants Quay can land the Group 2 juvenile contest this Saturday evening. Wayne Lordan has decided to stay loyal with Merchants Quay after guiding the son of No Nay Never to victory in a maiden here 22-days ago, while Mick Hussey replaces Seamie Heffernan on Navan maiden winner Forest of Dreams.
Merchants Quay was a beaten favourite on debut behind stable-mate Admiral Nelson before coming from off the pace to break his maiden with today’s rival, Arctician back in third.
It looked a winning performance where a further step up in trip would suit for his next start, but O’Brien has decided to stay at 6 furlongs for now and I’d expect him to be played late here under a patience ride, with Forest of Dreams setting a strong pace.
Despite the clear chances of O’Brien’s leading contender, I’m siding with LUCKY VEGA with trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Shane Foley looking for their first victories in the Railway Stakes. The son of Lope De Vega was a game winner of his maiden on debut at Naas in early June when running green and managing to see off several of today’s rivals and recent winners since, Eastern Voice and Laws Of Indices.
He had been worked well before making his winning debut and connections reported him only 80% ready on that occasion. Lucky Vega can improve further to win here and continue the excellent season of the Harrington team before heading to the Phoenix Stakes next month.
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