Curragh tips for Irish Champions Weekend: O’Brien to show the Churchill spirit
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | September 10, 2016
Top Irish flat trainer Aidan O’Brien will have been bitterly disappointed to see St Leger favourite Idaho unseat his rider in the Doncaster Classic, but his stable looks set to respond by dominating the big races at The Curragh this Sunday.
It’s the second part of the Irish Champions Weekend at this Coral sponsored track. We’ve looked at the 2016 Irish St Leger in detail separately, but there’s a couple of other Group 1 contests…
Classy Churchill can best Mehmas in National Stakes
Besides Order Of St George in the Irish Leger, stablemate Churchill looks poised to continue his progress by winning the 7f Vincent O’Brien National Stakes just beforehand (16:15).
It will just be the two-year-old bay colt’s fifth start, but he has improved at a rate of knots by winning three of his four outings, taking steps up into Group 3 and Group 2 company in his stride.
Race rival Mehmas has twice as many successes in the latter grade for Richard Hannon, but makes an Irish debut here with all six previous career runs in Britain.
Churchill has course and distance form to his credit last time out, however, and also won the Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown, so it’s that horse you should side with here.
Rhododendron can bloom in Moyglare Stud Stakes
Aidan O’Brien entries dominate the 7f Moyglare Stud Stakes (15:40), and of his quartet Rhododendron could be the best of the bunch.
Stablemate Promise To Be True is the overnight favourite, but connections are fast-tracking her into Group 1 company here after just two starts.
While that suggests O’Brien expects big things from Promise To Be True, fellow filly Rhododendron has a course and distance win under her belt in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes.
That is a persuasive point based on fact rather than potential. Hydrangea and Brave Anna are other O’Brien hopes here.
O’Brien to assert he’s Best In The World
The Blandford Stakes over 1m 2f (14:35) is one of a pair of Group 2 contests on The Curragh card, and Best In The World should again hold off the challenge of Shamreen to give O’Brien a clean sweep of the main races.
A Group 3 winner at Cork last time out, Best In The World also has a course victory to her credit.
Shamreen is owned by the Aga Khan, but Dermot Weld’s filly was only a five-length fourth behind the selection last time out.
With that contest also taking place on the yielding ground both get underfoot here, there’s nothing to suggest Shamreen can stop Best In The World from winning once more.
Hedge your bets over the flying 5f
A wide-open renewal of the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes (15:10) has three fascinating contenders to consider.
Overnight favourite Cotai Glory looks one to avoid as Charlie Hills’ four-year-old has failed to score in six starts since winning the Scarborough Stakes at last year’s St Leger meeting at Doncaster.
Instead it’s Toscanini, Take Cover and/or Spirit Quartz on which punters should hedge their bets.
Michael Halford’s Godolphin-owned four-year-old gelding Toscanini has two Curragh victories over 6f this season, including the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes last time out.
Relative veteran Take Cover scooped the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, beating Washington Dc by a neck to show age is no barrier to success.
The nine-year-old followed up with a four-length third of 19 in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes, and there’s no shame in finishing behind Mecca’s Angel and Limato.
Spirit Quartz is also a contender for Robert Cowell, because he’s won both starts in Ireland this season over the 5f trip.
Curragh tips for September 11
14:35 Best In The World
15:10 Toscanini (E/W)
16:15 Churchill (NB)
16:50 Order Of St George (NAP), Wicklow Brave (E/W)
17:25 Parnassian (E/W)
17:55 Dark Red (E/W)
You’ll find more horse racing tips on Coral news’ dedicated page.