SHAMROCK: Saturday’s meeting at The Curragh features eight races and includes the hugely valuable Goffs Million.
There’s a strong looking eight-race card from the Curragh this weekend and the action begins with a maiden (1:05) over 6f. Two lightly raced types from the Aiden O’Brien and Ger Lyons camps stand out here, and with the going likely to be on the soft side it could pay to side with Lyons’ son of Frankel, New Image, over Hispanic, who has a largely American based pedigree.
The Group 2 Beresford Stakes (1:35pm) is the feature race on the card and sees seven go to post. It’s hard to get away from the claims of Adelaide River here. Aiden O’Brien’s son of Australia finished a close runner up on only his second start in the Group 3 Prix des Chenes at Longchamp on soft ground at the beginning of the month. The fact he beat Pivotal Trigger, his nearest market rival here, on that occasion only strengthens his claims.
Another maiden over 6f (2:10pm) sees a couple of potentially interesting newcomers in the shape of Vocal Studies and Navara Pace make their debuts. However, it may be worth chancing Michael O’Callaghan’s Lokada who was given a steady introduction to racing on debut at Gowran last month and should have learnt plenty for that experience.
Race four is the Barberstown Castle Nursey Handicap (2:45pm) over 6f. These races can be tricky for punters with lots of runner potentially ahead of their marks. Joseph O’Brien’s Pure Circle looks interesting on handicap debut off an opening mark of 70, especially with useful five-pound claimer Jake Cohen in the saddle.
Next up is the first running of the hugely valuable Goffs Million (3:20pm) over 7f. With a first prize of over €600,000 it’s no wonder a big field of 19 take their chance. There’s plenty of representation from the UK and one who looks interesting is Ed Bethell’s Oviedo. He ran a fine race when third in the Group 3 Acomb at York on his second start and that form has worked out well, with the winner successful since. More of an ease in the ground could suit this son of Lope De Vega and he should be staying on well at the finish.
We’re back down in trip for the next race, a premier handicap over 5f (3:55pm). The handicapper looks to have given Strong Johnson a chance here off a mark of 93 – one pound below his last winning mark – and the booking of Colin Keane only strengthens his appeal.
An apprentice race over a mile (4:30pm) is the next on the card and it looks a mightily competitive contest with 25 taking their chance. Derry Lad has been running consistently this season, winning once at Sligo in May over 1m2f and placing twice since. Last time he ran a nice race at Epsom, when fading at the finish over 1m4f. Whether this return to a mile will prove enough of a test remains to be seen, but Kevin Thomas Coleman’s runner remains feasibly treated and could go well if getting a strong pace to aim at.
Finding the winner of the finale (5:05pm) over 7f doesn’t look any easier. Navagio is well drawn in stall three and comes here on the back of a break after finishing second over 7f at Leopardstown in July. The handicapper has dropped him two pounds for being beaten only a length there and as a winner over this course and distance already this season, he could be primed for a big run.