Aidan O’Brien has dominated this race over the past decade winning this mile maiden seven times in the past nine seasons, and more recently with Saxon Warrior (2017) and Mogul last year.
Brazil is the Ballydoyle representative this year following two starts when a beaten favourite on both occasions at Navan and Tipperary and should be in the mix for the inform trainer. Ironically, the Ger Lyons team saw off several O’Brien challengers to win this race twice (2012 & 2013) and COLOUR SERGEANT can secure success for the Glenburnie team this Friday.
The Juddmonte-owned juvenile has been placed on all three starts to date and has the best line of form here following a staying on third to Jim Bolger’s Mac Swiney here last month. That’s good form after the Bolger runner saw off Cadillac to claim the Group 2 Futurity Stakes last weekend, which suggests Colour Sergeant should be good enough to see off both Brazil and Flying Visit.
The extra furlong and step up in trip to one mile this Friday afternoon looks ideal having been staying on nicely over 7 furlongs on his last two starts here at the Curragh.
The 2020 renewal of the Flame Of Tara looks open on paper with a handful of fillies in contention for victory in a Group 3 contest that has only been won twice by a race favourite in the past 10 years.
One could not be more impressed by Nicest debut at Leopardstown with Donnacha O’Brien’s beautifully bred daughter of American Pharoah winning despite been slightly slowly away and looking green and raw on her first start. That performance gives her a great chance, but I’m slightly concerned about the possibility of underfoot conditions which might also hinder the chances for Emaniya from the Dermot Weld stable.
The Aga Khan filly is another solid contender following her hands and heels victory under Oisin Orr at Cork earlier this month, but both fillies are bred by sires and out of dams who were not fond of wet going conditions. The Weld filly had two of today’s rivals behind her in Mallow with Ahandfulofsummers and Divinely finishing third and fourth for Fozzy Stack and Aidan O’Brien.
Elsewhere, Meala has the best form on offer for Jim Bolger but returns quickly after her fourth-place finish in the Debutante Stakes last weekend, while the Magnier family are represented away from team Ballydoyle by Dolce Notte and UBUNTU.
Dolce Notte also takes her chance for Fozzy Stack after an encouraging debut at Killarney last week on heavy ground and looks open to improvement to knock on the door for a place. Ubuntu is another maiden with one start under her belt after a staying on fifth two-weeks ago here behind Shandra with the John Joe Murphy-trained Rosscarbery just ahead in fourth place.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained filly was pretty much clueless out the back on debut before the penny dropped in the closing half furlong under Declan McDonagh and she produced an excellent turn of foot to stay on for fifth – it was an eye-catching debut.
She will appreciate the extra furlong here and could relish some underfoot conditions to run a good race to represent some value against Nicest, Meala and Emaniya.
I fell in love with ALBIGNA (NAP) last season with the Jessica Harrington filly so impressive when breaking her maiden last May and following up in late fashion in the Airlie Stud Stakes last June.
She was found to be in-season when sixth and running badly behind Love in the Moyglare last September before landing her Group 1 in the Prix Marcel Boussac in Paris last October. That victory earned her a run in America where she finished a very creditable fourth from an awful draw in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
She clearly wasn’t at her best in the Irish Guineas on her seasonal debut in June, but Jessica Harrington has found a golden opportunity for this talented filly to get back to winning ways this Friday afternoon.
She drops into Group 3 company for the Snow Fairy Stakes and is rated 11lbs superior to her nearest rival, So Wonderful on level weights while also getting weight from her older rivals. Aidan O’Brien is providing the main challenge with recent Ruby Stakes winner So Wonderful, the mount of Padraig Beggy and the Kilboy Estate Stakes second, Lovelier with Wayne Lordan in the saddle.
Despite the 76-day break, Albigna looks the obvious winner with no concerns over any juice in the ground and should have enough class to give the Harrington team a fourth victory here following previous success with Bible Belt, Bocca Baciata and I’m So Fancy.
It’s been a very good season for the Ken Condon team with Romanised returning to win the Minstrel Stakes, Laws Of Indicies securing the Railway Stakes and Miss Amulet claiming success in the Lowther Stakes at York last week.
TERESA MENDOZA looks another nice recruit for the yard and can see off Chief Little Hawk, Coill Avon and others to win this year’s renewal of the Round Tower Stakes with Shane Foley in the saddle. The daughter of Territories was very impressive under Foley on debut, winning her maiden in hands and heels fashion with the form boosted since.
The Kevin Prendergast-trained Monaasib finished second before securing back-to-back wins at the Curragh and Cork and was a narrow runner-up to Chief Little Hawk in the Ballyhane Stakes at Naas last weekend.
Condon considered the Balanchine Stakes for the filly and told reporters after her victory that homework suggested she can win at stakes level with further progression. She’ll have no issues with any possible soft or heavy ground and staying at 6 furlongs for now looks a good decision with Condon having a good bunch of juveniles this season.
Chief Little Hawk has been consistent for Aidan O’Brien with solid form in the book after several races which included a trip to Royal Ascot, while stable-mate Giorgio Vasari is another who has raced plenty so far this year. The mount of Padraig Beggy was fourth at Naas last weekend and finished eighth in the Phoenix Stakes behind Lucky Vega earlier this month.
Elsewhere, the Ger Lyons-trained Coill Avon has improved with each start and saw off St Mark’s Basilica here last month, while Sloane Peterson and Sweet Gardenia and others who could challenge for a place after recent wins.
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