WITH Irish Champions Weekend under a month away, the Curragh stages some important trials this Saturday and Sunday, August 23rd and 24th
Last season’s Doncaster St Leger winner Leading Light is the star act in the Group Three Palmerstown Irish St Leger Trial Stakes on Sunday, for which 20 horses have stood their ground. Unbeaten in his two outings this season, the son of Montjeu put up a tremendous performance when landing the Ascot Gold Cup last time and his participation on Sunday would undoubtedly boost the attendance. Other notable horses remaining in the race are Royal Diamond, who won this contest 12 months ago, Vintage Nouveau, Forgotten Rules, Biographer and Shu Lewis.
The Group Three Kilfrush Stud Royal Whip Stakes is another very competitive contest with Carla Bianca, Parish Hall, Kingsbarns and last season’s Darley Irish Oaks heroine Chiquita among the 12 horses remaining in the race and is set to make her debut since joining the Aidan O’Brien team.
There are three other Group races up for grabs on Sunday. Aidan O’Brien is responsible for eight of the 16 entries for the Group Two Galileo EBF Futurity Stakes and included among them is Gleneagles who landed his maiden at this venue in impressive fashion back in June prior to landing a Group Three contest at Leopardstown last month. Jim Bolger is also well represented here with Hall Of Fame and Parish Boy, while Dermot Weld will rely on the most progressive Tombelaine.
A total of 22 horses have stood their ground in the Group Two Debutante Stakes, seven of which are trained by Aidan O’Brien. Best of the Ballydoyle entries would appear to be Qualify and Simply A Star. Jim Bolger has a strong hand with three (Fields Of May, Lucida and Pleascach) horses to represent him, while there are also three British challengers in the Kevin Ryan-trained Calypso Beat and Roger Varian’s pair Cursory Glance and Tigrilla.
The action this weekend gets under way with the Group Three Renaissance Stakes on Saturday. A total of 11 horses have stood their ground for Saturday’s feature event and the winner will gain free entry into the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes back here on Sunday, 14th September.
Included among the entries for the Renaissance Stakes is the Tom Hogan-trained Gordon Lord Byron, which also holds an entry at York on Friday.
“We will make a decision later today as to which race the horse will go for,” commented Hogan this afternoon. “He is in really good order and while he may be just a little bit rusty we have been happy with him.” Other notable entries here are Maarek, Russian Soul, Gathering Power, Fountain Of Youth, Cougar Mountain and the two British-trained challengers Hamza and Ruwaiyan. Meanwhile, the Listed The Irish Field Curragh Stakes has attracted 12 entries including Ainippe, Blackbriar, Simply A Star and The Great War.
The first race on Saturday commences at 2pm, while on Sunday the action gets under way at 2.25pm. The ground at the Curragh is currently Good.
The first race is at 2.35pm. Adult Admission: 15 euros. Under 25s and Seniors: 8 euros. Under 16s FREE.
Free car parking. Irish Rail service to Kildare Town with free shuttle to racecourse. Dublin Coach also provide race day service (see www.dublincoach.ie)