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Paddy Power Irish Cambridgeshire day at the Curragh gets underway with a mile maiden, which has been won previously by many talent horses. Bluegrass represents Aidan O’Brien and is shortlisted having missed the break on debut before staying on for a sixth-placed finish at this venue earlier this month.
EXPLORERS WAY runs for Joseph O’Brien and the benefit of his barrier trial second could see him challenge on his official racecourse debut. The Piltown team have used barrier trials to their advantage this seasonal with plenty of juveniles subsequently scoring when hitting the racetrack. Any market support would be an obvious positive and the same can be said for both Enthrallment and Yashin also on debut.
ALBULA was a surprising, but impressive winner when scoring on debut at Naas earlier this month for Joseph O’Brien and can progress further to land the Flame Of Tara Stakes under Declan McDonagh. She got the better of several experienced runners on that occasion and somewhat surprised connections by scoring on debut.
This race looks the logical next step for her in securing some black type with She’s Trouble the main danger for Jim Bolger. The mount of Kevin Manning returns after her winning maiden here in early May, with subsequent Silver Flash and Debutante Stakes winner Agartha back in third on that occasion.
It’s been an August to remember for Johnny Murtagh with major victories this month with Create Belief, Earlswood and Sonnyboyliston. CHAMPERS ELYSEES stands out on ratings and drops in grade under Ben Coen having found trouble in running when finishing last in the Falmouth Stakes last month.
The Matron Stakes winner ran a creditable race at Royal Ascot and should hopefully return to winning ways against this opposition in the Snow Fairy Stakes. She returns fresh enough from Newmarket and should have enough class to see off Shale and the vastly improving Solene Lilyette.
The inclusion of Sam Maximus for Tom Dascombe and John Dance makes this a competitive renewal of the Round Tower Stakes. The 107-rated juvenile brings some excellent form into this race following good recent efforts at both Newmarket and Deauville this summer. The form of his third-place finish in the July Stakes reads extremely well with Ebro River (fourth) subsequently winning the Phoenix Stakes, Asymmetric (second) the Richmond and Lusail (first) scoring in the Gimcrack.
SCARED BRIDGE receives 3lbs from the British raider and gets the vote to remain unbeaten for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane. The Juddmonte-owned filly has equally good form in the book and comes here after victories in both the Tipperary and Ballyhane Stakes. She saw off subsequent Silver Flash and Debutante Stakes winner Agartha on debut at Naas and landed a valuable race with a nice turn of foot at the same venue last month.
That form was enhanced further by Ever Given (fourth) returning quickly and winning the Premier Yearling Stakes at York last week. The daughter of Bated Breath, who holds an entry in the Cheveley Park at Newmarket next month will appreciate the likely strong pace on offer here and should remain unbeaten. Elsewhere, Ultramarine does battle with our selection again after Naas, with Ladies Church also looking an each-way contender for both Joseph O’Brien and Johnny Murtagh.
Paddy sponsors the feature Irish Cambridgeshire on the card at HQ on Friday evening with a guaranteed €80,000 in prize money, which will be divided between the first six horses’ home. It’s hard to believe that the last favourite to win the Irish Cambridgeshire was Silverware (9/1) for Pat Hughes at the turn of the century in 2000.
Toshizou has attracted good ante-post support recently, with Joseph O’Brien’s runner looking a solid player with Mikey Sheehy taking off 5lbs. The son of Galileo finished fourth on his handicap debut on that occasion and once again renews rivalries with plenty of this opposition, including Comfort Line and Eagle’s Flight to name just two.
There’s more than a double handful in with solid chances here, but I’m hoping LUST might be the one to give Ger Lyons a second victory in this handicap. The Glenburnie team won this race with Sea Wolf in 2016, and Lust looks to have more improvement in his locker to challenge under Colin Keane.
A first-time tongue-tie is used here following his good victory at this venue in May, with a return to this mile trip not looking a major concern. Both victories to date have come over 7 furlongs and the manner of his latest hands and heels victory from the front suggests he’ll see out the extra-furlong no problem. The brother of Maker Of Kings is not ground dependent and looks to have a solid each-way chance off a revised rating of 93, with the draw in stall 13 handing Colin Keane options.
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