Aidan O’Brien has made no secret of the fact he hasn’t enjoyed the best of seasons with his two-year-olds, many of them showing early promise before failing to quite build on that as hoped when turning out quickly for Royal Ascot and other major meetings. His MORE BEAUTIFUL was given time to develop after two underwhelming efforts and now she can reap the benefit of that time, ready to return to the sort of promise she showed when winning on debut. Earth Strike could be a player if any rain arrives, while No Speak Alexander must be considered.
It was an impressive performance from SPRINGBANK when bolting up at Gowran Park last month and while the handicapper has had his say, he looks capable of further progress on just his eighth career start. A case can be made for plenty of these including Emperor Of The Sun who has been holding his own at Listed level since a narrow defeat at Galway and Never Do Nothing who looks fairly treated on his British form.
A good renewal of this race with proven Group 1 performers taking on some progressive sorts. Fancy Blue and PEACEFUL (nap) are closely matched on form and it’s the latter who shades the vote, with the likelihood that she will be better suited by a return to a mile. She showed plenty of speed in her Classic success earlier in the campaign and looked a little unlucky not to reel in Fancy Blue in the Prix de Diane when she was last seen. Fancy Blue has since gone on to win the Nassau Stakes and warrants respect in her bid for a third Group 1, but she looked ideally suited by further than this at Goodwood.
This should be very informative with an eye to the future. Cadillac is the standout on form but FERNANDO VICHI is a hugely promising sort who should have more to come and he can build on an excellent maiden win at this venue last time. Liffey River is similarly unexposed and rates a major danger after his ready Punchestown success, while Van Gogh will relish the better ground than last time and hails from a stable with an outstanding record in this.
A fascinating affair in which tactics can play a major role. The brilliant Ghaiyyath obviously likes to bowl along in front but the presence of Armory, who has raced handily enough in the past, could mean the 130-rated standard-setter may not have it all his own way in front. Magical loves this place and can finish closer to Charlie Appleby’s star this time around, but it could be worth taking a chance on JAPAN, who has always been held in the highest regard and appears the Ballydoyle number one. He ran no sort of race last time at Ascot but had an excuse and he will surely be primed to the minute for this.
It was a clear career-best performance from LANCASTER HOUSE when chasing home Romanised in the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes last time and the colt is lightly raced for a four-year-old. With the return to a mile expected to yield improvement, Aidan O’Brien’s first-string is taken to make it five wins from seven career starts. Stablemate Royal Dornoch could be the main danger after his return to form over this C&D last time and he should get a strong pace to aim at. Safe Voyage is another to consider, particularly if the rain arrives.
Loads of depth to this Group 3. Joseph O’Brien has a strong team here and his BUCKHURST, who doesn’t always quite get the credit he deserves, can get back to winning ways now tried in first-time blinkers, albeit a wide draw isn’t ideal. Tiger Moth is clearly a high-class individual and warrants major respect, while Patrick Sarsfield has been a real success story this summer and shouldn’t be far away. The three named runners all arrive here on the back of mini breaks and the race-fit Up Helly Aa can give them plenty to think about after a very satisfactory comeback at Killarney.
The lightly raced MUSIC TO MY EARS had plenty go against her when only narrowly denied at the Curragh in July and that form has been done a favour by the winner going close in Group company subsequently. It’s a typically wide-open renewal of this premier handicap and Sirjack Thomas could be a threat with the 7lb claim of his talented apprentice rider an obvious asset, provided the gelding gets away on terms.
The Racing Post’s tips for Leopardstown on Saturday
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