Curragh tips: Our fab 4 best bets for Saturday’s meeting

Here's a fab four from PPTV's James Shortt for Saturday's action.




Dermot Weld and Aidan O’Brien have dominated this maiden over the past decade, winning seven of the previous ten renewals, including a victory with Found in 2014 for team Ballydoyle. O’Brien runs two beautifully-bred newcomers, High Definition (the mount of Wayne Lordan) and Wordsworth (Seamie Heffernan in the saddle). Weld sends the Moyglare home-bred, Abstract here on debut under Oisin Or. There’s very little on pedigree between these O’Brien runners, both are by Galileo out of mares who previously managed success at Listed and Group level.

Seamie Heffernan has not always made the right decision when picking the O’Brien runners this season, but I’m happy to side with WORDSWORTH with the hope this juvenile has been working slightly better at home.

This two-year-old is out of Group 1 winning middle-distance dam, Chelsea Rose, who won the 2004 Moyglare Stakes for Con Collins, while High Definition is out of listed miler, Palace, formerly trained by O’Brien.

Abstract is by Sea The Stars, out of Moyglare mare Sense of Purpose, who secured Group 3 success for Dermot Weld at Leopardstown in the 2011 Ballyroan Stakes and a starting trip of one-mile on debut would be a bare minimum.

Mcpherson is another newcomer for Mill House racing, trained by Jessica Harrington with Shane Foley in the saddle and cannot be discounted, while Jim Bolger runs two horses with previous experience.

Artistic Work finished sixth on debut at Naas earlier this month and Kevin Manning remains in the saddle, while Flying Visit, the mount of Rory Cleary, was eighth at Gowran Park on debut just 10 days ago. Elsewhere, Johnny Murtagh runs two newcomers but hopefully Wordsworth will have similar class to many previous O’Brien winners of this race.



15.45 – SHALE

The 2020 renewal of the Group 2 Debutante Stakes could come down to a battle of the O’Brien family, with father Aidan and sons Joseph and Donnacha having a combined five of the eight declared runners. Donnacha can win the bragging rights with SHALE continuing her improvement this season by landing another Group success, after her recent victory in the Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown.

Despite finishing behind Meala on debut at Leopardstown (when both were beaten by Oodnadatta in June), Shale was impressive when breaking her maiden at Gowran Park before getting the better of Pretty Gorgeous (second), Snowfall (fourth) and Finest (sixth) earlier this month in Dublin.

I see no reason why that form should be reversed, with any rainfall playing a positive to Shale’s strengths. Mother Earth might appreciate the extra-furlong for Aidan O’Brien and looks the main danger having finished a solid second to Aloha Star in the Airlie Stud Stakes here last month.

Elsewhere, Meala looks a serious player and deserves her chance in Group company for Jim Bolger following her runaway success at Galway under Kevin Manning and has other good form from earlier in the season.




It was nice to see Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning find a winner with Sasta at Cork last weekend in what has been a quiet season overall. Hopefully, that recent winner and another victory here with MOTHER VINCENT can kick-off a good run heading into the autumn. This filly would have a decent chance here now dropping back into handicap company among her own sex and is a lively each-way selection. The daughter of Vocalised finished fifth in two listed races at Gowran Park this season, behind Lemista in the Victor McCalmont and Kastasa in the Vintage Tipple Stakes.

She returns to handicap company and remains on an official rating of 92 under Kevin Manning with any further rain an added advantage to her chances. She managed a hat-trick of victories on soft/heavy conditions at the backend of last season with victories at Naas, the Curragh and Naas again between mid-October and early November.

It’s an open affair with Mighty Blue just behind Mother Vincent at Gowran Park for Joseph O’Brien, while Royal Free Hotel returns quickly having won easily at Tramore last weekend.

Red Line Alexander has progressed nicely winning at Ballinrobe last month for Paddy Twomey with Wayne Lordan booked, while the lightly raced Thunder Kiss another contender for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane. The Newtown Anner Stud runner (rated 88 today on her handicap debut) finished just ahead of Red Line Alexander at the Curragh in June, before gaining success in a Killarney maiden last month.

Other recent winners were Laggata for Johnny Murtagh and Haparanda for the in-form Dermot Weld who could run nice races to knock on the door.


Curragh Races Paddy Power


The Group 2 Futurity Stakes over seven furlongs sees Aidan O’Brien saddling three of the nine-declared runners having won this race previously with star performers Gleneagles, Churchill and Anthony Van Dyck. MILITARY STYLE could represent some value here under Wayne Lordan and gets the each-way vote despite jockey Seamie Heffernan siding with stable-mate Van Gogh. These two fought out the finish at Leopardstown in the Tyros Stakes just over two weeks ago when Military Style made all to hold off a late challenge from his stable-mate to win by a neck.

The son of War Front previously broke his maiden at Naas in early June getting the better of Eastern Voice before been turned over at odds-on at Cork in the Marble Hill Stakes. Heffernan has decided to ride twice-raced Van Gogh who remains a maiden following his fourth on debut at Leopardstown behind Masen and perhaps that decision was made on recent homework at Ballydoyle!

Cadillac is the most interesting runner in the race ever since his debut victory at Leopardstown in early July and represents the Phoenix Stakes-winning team of Jessica Harrington and Shane Foley.

The son of Lope De Vega couldn’t have been any more impressive in Foxrock with his late sectional times simply electric, but the counter-argument is that Ebeko (second) for Paddy Twomey is the only horse to win and boost the form in what looked an average looking race on paper beforehand.

Jessica Harrington’s rise as the Queen of Irish flat racing began with Pathfolk’s success in this race in 2010 and it would be no surprise if Cadillac gives the Moone-based team another group success in juvenile company this season. Cadillac might be a potential superstar for the future, but Military Style comes from a yard that has won six of the past seven renewals of this race.

Don’t Miss

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Timeform’s race-by-race guide to Saturday at York
Mick Fitz’s Lucky 15 for Saturday’s ITV action
Matt Chapman’s 9 to shine at Sandown and York
Jason Weaver’s pick of the punts for Saturday’s Sandown and York racing

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