Seven strong rides on the first day of Irish Champions weekend



Step up in trip could see her in a better light

14:00 – More Beautiful

No Speak Alexander sets the form standard on her Group 2 fourth in France last time but that came in testing ground and she has it to prove on this better surface. The expected good ground will suit my filly who won on good to firm on her debut at Naas, and hopefully she can prove to be better than we saw from her in Group company at Ascot on her last two starts. Maybe the step up to 7f will see her in a better light, and it certainly shouldn’t be a problem on pedigree, and she has a nice enough draw in three.

Fair mark and trip set to suit

14:35 – Persia

I rode him once last season when he was below par in the Autumn Stakes but he proved that form all wrong when going on to finish second in Group company around here and then winning a decent race at Chelmsford, beating his stablemate Cormorant, who goes in the Group 3 later on the card. He has been off since November, but his mark of 100 looks fair and his pedigree suggests this 1m5f trip could see him in even a better light, as well.

Step back to 1m no problem for dual Group 1 winner

15:10 – Fancy Blue

Form: 11-211

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Date Course/Class Pos Type Dist. Gng. HDGR WGT Jockey BSP
30/07/20 Goodwood 1/7 Flat 1m 1f 197y Gd/frm 8st 12lbs Ryan Moore 4.04
05/07/20 Chantilly 1/11 Flat 1m 2f 97y Gd/frm 9st 0lbs Pierre-Charles Boudot
13/06/20 Curragh 2/11 Flat 1m Gd/frm 9st 2lbs Declan McDonogh 24.2
13/10/19 Curragh 1/7 Flat 1m Heavy 9st 0lbs Seamie Heffernan 5.7
18/09/19 Naas 1/15 Flat 7f Gd/sft 9st 0lbs Donnacha O’Brien 10.57

This is a competitive renewal of the Matron but I think my filly just about deserves to be favourite after what she has done at Chantilly and Goodwood. Those were Group 1 successes over 1m2f but she proved she had the speed for this 1m trip when second to Peaceful in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and she has improved a good deal since then, too. It’s a pretty deep race, though.

Can go well with step up in trip in his favour

15:40 – Van Gogh

This is another very competitive race and my colt comes into this race on the back of a slightly disappointing effort on soft ground at the Curragh last time. I haven’t ridden him before but his earlier efforts on decent ground, notably just when touched off by a stablemate in the Tyros Stakes here, suggests he certainly has a fair shout in this. The step up to a mile will suit him, and I can see him going well.

Godolphin runner will be tough to beat if at his best

16:10 – Japan

I’d have been happy to sit on either Magical or Japan here. You know Magical will run her race, although I have to admit that I expected her to get a fair bit closer to Ghaiyyath at York. The Godolphin horse is clearly the one to beat in here, and if anything he was even more impressive there than when beating Enable and Japan in the Eclipse previously.

But my colt had excuses for his poor run in the King George last time, as he came back lame and sore, and you can expect a much better showing from him here. Whether or not that will be enough to beat a peak-form Ghaiyyath, we shall see, but it probably has to entail a clear career-best. Let’s be honest though, the favourite will obviously be very tough to beat if he runs up to his best, as he is a proper Group 1 horse.

Draw, ground, and recent form in his favour

16:45 – Lancaster House

Again, I would have been happy to sit on any of our three in here, but hopefully Lancaster House will put his modest showing in this race last season behind him, though he obviously did return lame there. He looks to have been in really good form leading into this, winning the Gladness Stakes and then finishing second to the dual Group 1 winner Romanised off levels in the Minstrel Stakes last time. He is a horse who likes to go forward, so his draw in two is fine, and he appreciates decent ground, too.

Form: 1117-12

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Date Course/Class Pos Type Dist. Gng. HDGR WGT Jockey BSP
18/07/20 Curragh 2/6 Flat 7f Gd/sft 9st 10lbs W. M. Lordan 1.89
13/06/20 Curragh 1/6 Flat 7f Gd/frm 9st 5lbs Seamie Heffernan 2.62
14/09/19 Leopardstown 7/9 Flat 1m Good 9st 3lbs Ryan Moore 2.86
09/09/19 Listowel 1/14 Flat 1m 1f Soft 9st 3lbs Donnacha O’Brien 3.09
29/08/19 Tipperary 1/4 Flat 1m 1f Gd/sft 9st 5lbs Donnacha O’Brien 1.31
03/08/19 Galway 1/18 Flat 1m 73y Gd/frm 9st 5lbs Donnacha O’Brien 2.75

This is a tough race, with Century Dream probably the one to beat on form after his Goodwood win, but it is not hard to see my horse going well. He has very few miles on the clock, so there could well be improvement in him.

Irish Derby form sets the standard

17:15 – Tiger Moth

Some were talking about the St Leger for him after his narrow second to Santiago in the Irish Derby last time, but he is sticking to a trip that we know he gets well. And the form that he showed at the Curragh probably just about sets the standard here, though Joseph’s pair have to be respected. But my colt won his maiden around here on decent ground, he has had just the three starts, and I think we will all be disappointed if he isn’t going close here.