After making an encouraging start to his career, finishing fourth on debut at Leopardstown, Van Gogh was immediately stepped up to Group level, and he duly showed improved form to reverse the placings with both Masen and Charterhouse as he finished runner-up in the Tyros Stakes last month.
He was unable to find a change of gear in the Futurity, but he did shape better than the bare result, and he resumed progress back on firmer ground in the Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown last time, having no answer to the winner’s turn of foot but beating the rest comfortably. He sets a clear standard in this race and should be more than capable of opening his account.
Monday is bred to be smart, by Fastnet Rock out of juvenile Group-1 winner Ballydoyle, and she left her debut form well behind when winning at listed level on just her second outing earlier this month, responding well to pressure to see off No Speak Alexander, who reopposes here.
Monday was disappointing in the Rockfel at Newmarket on Friday, unable to repeat her previous form, but she could be worth another chance for Aidan O’Brien, who has won four of the last ten runnings of this race.
Breakfast Club showed improved form on his first outing for Denis Hogan, running out a decisive winner on just his second handicap start at Cork recently, quickening to lead inside the final furlong and keeping on to win comfortably. He is still very much unexposed and makes plenty of appeal, for all that this is a competitive handicap.
Despite already having run five times, Vocito isn’t yet the finished article, showing signs of inexperience in each of his runs. He looked to have been handed a good opening mark but proved to be a disappointment at Cork recently, looking a touch awkward, and he again proved too keen when hitting the frame at Listowel last time.
This big field may help him settle early however, and with the pace also expected to be on the strong side, the advantage should be shifted his way at a trip and venue where prominent racers are normally favoured.
Simply A Breeze outran her odds of 40/1 when excelling herself up in grade at this course last month, not getting the run of the race but staying on for fourth in the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes.
She failed to back that up when again tried at Group 3 level at Gowran last time, but she should find this task much easier, and can take advantage of the return to calmer waters to open her account.
Mirann showed improved form to resume winning ways on his first outing for Johnny Murtagh when landing the odds at Gowran in June, looking value for a fair bit more than the winning margin of half a length suggests as well.
He has continued in good heart since, twice hitting the frame before finishing seventh at Leopardstown last time, shaping better than the result on the latter occasion, left with plenty to do turning for home but staying on well. He remains capable of better and is expected to be bang there.
After a ten-month absence, Kastasa picked up where she left off at Gowran in July, off the bridle before the other principles but her stamina getting her out of what appeared a troublesome spot.
That listed win was her sixth victory from eight runs, and though she saw her five race unbeaten run come to an end at Naas last time, that was still a credible effort under conditions that were not entirely to her liking – would have benefitted from a stronger gallop.
The forecast pace for this contest is a steady one, which should benefit Kastasa more than most, and this smart filly is taken to bounce back to winning ways.
Sure Cert showed much improved form to get off the mark at Fairyhouse on her handicap debut on Monday, pulling out a little more at the finish after battling with the runner-up throughout, showing a good attitude to get her head in front close home.
She is still unexposed and may well have yet more to offer, so she gets the nod to follow up.
Timeform’s tips at the Curragh on Sunday
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