STAR PREVIEW Sun: Irish Champions Weekend / Longchamp

A special day of racing had some notable successes and some notable disappointments for yesterday’s readers on the betting front, with Masen ending things on a high after Layfayette was a close third in the Petingo Handicap.

Earlier on the card Sir Lamorak was a disappointment and Corvigila was run down late by two stronger finishes on the near side, and the Irish Champion Stakes produced one of the races of the season, with St Mark’s Basilica outsprinting Tarnawa and Poetic Flare in a duel for the ages.

St Mark’s survived a stewards’ enquiry after going right in the straight, carrying Tarnawa with him and also denying Poetic Flare an eye-to-eye battle, with less than a length separating three of the world’s best horses, and thankfully ITV viewers were treated to the spectacle too.

That clash is going to be rewatched again and again – by me certainly, and lots of other racing fans – but in the future we have the tantalising of Tarnawa going head-to-head with Godolphin’s three-year-olds and Snowfall (more on them later) for the Arc, St Mark’s Basilica possibly heading to the Champion Stakes (or Champions Day) and Poetic Flare finding another top-quality contest.

Over at Doncaster, Hurricane Lane was imperious in the St Leger, reversing form with our each/way choice Mojo Star, who ran a blinder for second. The Leger Arc double hasn’t been done in the same season yet, but plenty have tried he’d go with as good a chance as any and it’s fair to say that there would be a much smaller gap between him and Adayar than there was at Epsom.

Our other Doncaster suggestions were disappointing, with Mondammej never landing a blow in the Portland whilst Lusail did the same in the Champagne Stakes, finishing last after hanging right early on in the straight. Bayside Boy provided something of a shock when getting the better of the Queen’s highly rated Reach For The Moon, who couldn’t hold off the late charge of Roger Varian’s colt, who himself looks a horse of considerable promise.

We do it all again today, with Day 2 of the Irish Champions Weekend, and three trials for the Arc at Longchamp complimented by the Sunday Series finale. We’ll be focusing on the action in Ireland and France.

Irish Champions Weekend (Curragh, 1.45pm), Arc Trials Day (Longchamp, from 1.33pm)
Live on ITV4 HD from 4.00pm, Sky Sports Racing from 12.00pm, and Racing TV from 1.00pm

1.45 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Bold Lad” Sprint Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+)

Another race stacked with different options to choose from. Gulliver is more exposed than nearly the whole field but he can be a force to be reckoned with when getting a big field and strong pace to aim at over 6 furlongs, as evidenced by his neck second in the Stewards’ Cup just two runs ago. He was unsuited by a small field listed race at York last time and his two going days this season have seen him finish fifth in the Wokingham and second at Goodwood. He can go well at 14/1.

Power Under Me’s group form gives him a fine chance here and the Colin Keane/Ger Lyons axis has had a fine weekend already with four winners, whilst Provocateuse has won three of her last four starts for Jessie Harrington, the other trainer who had a fine day at Leopardstown yesterday. Both are strong contenders whilst Jon Riggens and Heavenly Power have almost limitless potential in a fiendishly difficult opener.

2.20 – Moyglare ”Jewels” Blandford Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) (3yo+) (1m2f)

This has been a disappointing season for Love based on her reappearance win in the prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, but she’s met top class horses on both starts since and looks a worthy favourite here. Thundering Nights, a game winner of the Pretty Polly Stakes here, ran with credit in the Prix Jean Romanet and shouldn’t be far away, and the pair are preferred to the improving La Petite Coco, who learned a start in this grade when running out a smooth winner of the Give Thanks Stakes. The prices look about right for all three.

Cayenne Pepper, Insinuendo, Amma Grace, Oodnadatta, Lovely Esteem, and Woodland Garden all have a lot of ground to find on this season’s efforts.

2.55 – Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (Group 1) (3yo+) (5f)

A fantastic renewal of this event, and one which can go to Glass Slippers. A game winner of this event last year, she was just beaten in the Abbaye at Longchamp and then took the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, becoming the first British raider to do so. Kept for another autumn campaign this season, she’s run just once this season, finishing a fine third to Suesa and Dragon Symbol in the King George Sprint at Goodwood when making strong late headway. With that run under her belt, she can reverse form with the admirably consistent Dragon Symbol here and she ought to take a great deal of beating here all being well.

Nunthorpe winter Winter Power was spectacular at York, and just for good measure her performance was underlined by Emaraaty Ana winning the Sprint Cup next time out. She’ll take some catching here, but the all out speed ttest that York provides suits her down to the ground, and today’s stiffer finish could be in favour of the stronger finishers.

Mooneista and Gustavus Weston finished 1-2 in the Sapphire Stakes here (Romantic Proposal well held in third) and both need respect especially if this is a strongly run contest, something which would also suit A Case Of You and Measure Of Magic.

Rohaan has had an amazing season so far but he’s gone best on softer ground than this and was disappointing in France last time, and Frenetic, Significantly, Strong Johnson, and Back To Brussels have struggled recently in Group company.

3.30 – Moyglare Stud Stakes (Group 1) (Fillies) (2yo) (7f)

Homeless Songs produced one of the most impressive debuts of the season when sweeping past Agartha on her Leopardstown debut and that form has only been franked by the runner up’s two Group wins since, the latest of them the Debutante Stakes when Sunset Shiraz, Discoveries and Concert Hall were all behind.

Agartha has obviously improved since but Homeless Songs has almost limitless potential and if she’s able to race more kindly on this, her second start, she can uphold that form.
Cairde Go Deo, a really impressive winner of a course and distance event for fillies last time, is a big threat whilst Prettiest has been a bit disappointing since her fourth in the Albany and Missing Matron hasn’t progressed after a promising start to the season.

4.05 – Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes (Group 1) (Colts & Fillies) (2yo) (7f)

A fascinating renewal here and a proper test for Point Lonsdale, who’s now unbeaten in four starts after taking the Tyros and Futurity Stakes in smooth style on good and soft ground respectively. He’s looked like the best juvenile in Europe but his form has taken a couple of knocks with Reach For The Moon and Maritime Wings both being beaten and a short price doesn’t appeal.

Charlie Appleby has taken this twice in recent years and Native Trail, his chosen representative this time around, looks capable of giving the favourite a serious race. An impressive winner on debut at Sandown, he overcame some greenness to get the better of Masekela (fifth in Chesham) in the Superlative Stakes when just doing enough and promising to improve further.

Maskela gave that form a handsome boost when getting the better of yesterday’s Champagne Stakes winner Bayside Boy yesterday and it would be a surprise if Native Trail wasn’t improved again for those successes, making him a big threat here.

Duke De Sessa was an impressive winner of a 1 mile maiden here after showing up with promise at Galway and is respect, although he must improve again back down in trip. It would be foolish to ignore Ebor River, the sole Group 1 inner in the field who showed guts to take the Phoenix Stakes in what was a close finish. He won’t be far away although it;’s possible others may improve past him.

4.40 – Comer Group International Irish St. Leger (Group 1) (3yo+) (1m6f)

A very open renewal with any number having realistic chances here. Last year’s winner Search For A Song will be primed for a repeat bid and is the horse to beat on that form, whilst last year’s third Twilight Payment warmed up in perfect fashion when taking the course and distance trial from Princess Zoe, Emperor Of The Sun, and Barrington Court. Little is likely to separate the pair whilst Baron Samedi’s improvement over the last year has seen him make up into a fine stayer who is very much in the mix on ratings.

Those three make the most appeal but are too difficult to separate – Twilight Payment would be the choice if pushed – whilst Ebor winner Sonnyboyliston is in the mix based on that effort for all he needs to improve again in what’s a fascinating renewal.

Aidan O’Brien’s Passion, who fancied every dance last year and was fifth in this last season, Is interesting at her best and few winners would surprise.

5.15 – Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes (2yo) (6f, 63 yards)

Not a strong race for the money here and Delmona looks the right favourite, although there are doubts about her getting home over this trip if they go hard upfront, whilst she was disappointing at Salisbury last time. Adjuvant was disappointing in a Glorious Goodwood nursery and would want to improve for the application of a visor, whilst third favourite King XJ, an eye-catcher on debut, is third favourite despite finishing just seventh there. One to avoid.

5.45 – Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Northfields” Handicap (Premier Handicap) (3yo+) (1m2f)

Mosala hasn’t run a bad race all season and may be amongst the best treated of the market leaders here after an excellent third behind Sirjack Thomas at the Galway Festival in the BMW Mile. He was asked to make a great deal of ground that day after being dropped in (had a wide draw and others started more quickly) and did well to finish third considering how the race developed; On his previous start, he’d won the ‘Nasrullah” handicap over 10 furlongs at Leopardstown.

He races off a mark of 92 today, a drop of a pound for his Galway effort, and assuming a decent break, a draw of 8 gives Chris Hayes plenty of options. Sirjack Thomas can be forgiven his disappointment last time and looks overpriced although the handicapper had had his say with him since.

The handicapper may have overreacted to Bear story’s sixth in the Royal Whip Stakes, and Finians Bay, third in that contest, would make more appeal although one could argue he has a tough mark after some bold efforts. Max Mayhem should go well for Joseph O’Brien too whilst Mirann has each/way chances.

Arc Trials:

1.33 – Qatar Prix Niel (Group 2) (3yo) (Grande Course) (Turf) (3yo) (1m4f)

An interesting spot for Bolshoi Ballet to make his European reappearance after a summer in America, where he took the Belmont Derby but didn’t have the same late zip in the Saratoga Derby after going quite hard early on and being run down late.

His Epsom defeat can be easily forgiven, so it will be fascinating to see how he goes here for all that a short price doesn’t appeal. Pretty Tiger, sixth in the Prix du Jockey Club and a Group 2 winner and runner up since, has been backed this morning but may want more cut, and the Prix Greffulhe winner Baby Rider could be the value pick. He didn’t make an impact in the Jockey Club or the Grand Prix de Paris, but better ground could be the ticket for him and a slow gallop will be no problem either. Bubble Gift, Media Stream and Timour have a bit to find.

2.55 – Qatar Prix Vermeille (Group 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Grande Course) (Turf) (3yo+)

Hard to look past Snowfall as she continues her road to the Arc, and it will be disappointing to many if she can’t win this. 2/9 is no price though, and the betting option here is to try and find the runner up.

Joan Of Arc beat Philomene and Bugarita in the Prix Diane, with a canny ride from Ioritz Mendizabal playing a big part. Early pace and positioning may have decided the result there and over this trip, both Philomene and Bugarita could fancy their chances of reversing the form and throwing it upto the favourite here. The pair have been beaten since but Burgarita bumped into another fast improver at Deauville when attempting to give a start to Free Wind, whilst Philomene’s effort at Deauville needs to be forgiven although she could improve for the step up in trip. At the time of writng, there’s 18/1 about Burgarita, which is big enough for an each/way interest.

Teona pulled her chance away when third behind Snowfall in the Musidora and didn’t land a blow in the Oaks, but she looked deadly when settling better and dominating the August Stakes, and her performance here will be fascinating.

Incarville took the Prix Saint-Alary in May but was well held in the Diane and has been beaten again since whilst La Joconde is here as a pacemaker here.

3.30 – Qatar Prix Foy (Group 2) (4yo+) (Grande Course) (Turf) (4yo+) (1m4f)

A fascinating renewal with positives and negatives for all of the runners here. If this isn’t run at a strong gallop – and the pace doesn’t look obvious on paper – then Skaletti could well be called the fastest finisher and that could give Jerome Reynier’s charge the advantage here. Well placed to take a German Group 1 last time, he’d won the Harcourt and the D’Ispahan here in April and May whilst his Champion Stakes second is the strongest form here.

Deep Bond is a fascinating runner ahead of the Arc, coming here after a fine second in the Tenno Sho. He’s clearly got a large amount of ability, but he may need the run and want a stronger gallop. Broome, a gutsy winner of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud last time, would be dangerous on the front end although it’s debatable whether Frankie Dettori would want to make this the sort of test that’ll see him to best effect.

Iresine, Sublimis, and Opasan won’t be far away although all three have weaker form than the market principals.

BACK Gulliver 1 pt each/way in 1.45 Curragh at 14/1 with
BACK Glass Slippers 3 pts win in 2.55 Curragh at 3/1 with
BACK Burgarita 1 pt each/way in 2.55 ParisLongchamp at 18/1 with
BACK Homeless Songs 2 pts win in 3.30 Curragh at 2/1 with
BACK Skalleti 2 pts win in 3.30 ParisLongchamp at 11/8 with
BACK Native Trail 1 pt win in 4.05 Curragh at 3/1 with
BACK Mosala 1 pt each/way in 5.45 Curragh at 17/2 with

⚠️ Stakes advised on a scale of 0-10 points depending on confidence from our preview team

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