We have written here before that trainer, Ger Lyons, needs to find a Group 1 horse to carry his progressive career to the next level.
The fact Lyons now trains for Khalid Abdullah has greatly increased his prospects and, in the twice-raced juvenile Viadera, has unearthed a real possibility.
The daughter of Bated Breath, of course, carries to famous Abdullah colours and, at the Curragh last Saturday, gave every indication she is indeed a most promising talent.
Viadera made a winning debut at the Curragh on June 20, overcoming being slowly away, running green and meeting interference, before quickening in style close home to score by half a length.
There are mixed signals from the bare form. The third, Darkash, failed to deliver subsequently at Fairyhouse, although the horse that beat him into second place then was Asdaa, who was seventh in the aforementioned Curragh contest.
The second and fourth from the Curragh haven’t run since, but the fifth and sixth respectively, Mount Tabora and Golden Eye Diamond, have both been beaten in the meantime.
A week ago, Viadera had her second outing, stepping into Group 3 class at the Curragh, in the Anglesey Stakes, and was well backed to land what shaped as a smart contest, even if there were only six runners.
When taking her maiden, Lyons’ charge was always travelling beautifully in her comfort zone, but the way the Anglesey was run must have been a real shock to the system.
Aidan O’Brien ran two in the race, strongly supported favourite, the Royal Ascot failure, Just Wonderful, and the particularly speedy Fantasy.
It was Fantasy who was soon in front and, so fast did she go, it was almost as if the devil himself was in hot pursuit.
As the drama began to unfold at the front, Just Wonderful was minding her own business at the rear and, presumably, the plan was to sweep through late, as those who raced anywhere near the suicidal pace collapsed and died.
But Just Wonderful wasn’t up to the task, with victory going to Mark Johnston’s Marie’s Diamond, who chased Fantasy for most of the journey
Marie’s Diamond was having the sixth race of his life and, in the end, this tough colt had just half a length to spare over Viadera.
It was some cracking effort on the part of the inexperienced filly and what was seriously encouraging was the manner in which she battled all the way to the line.
A measure of how quick they went was that the time of the race was only 0.57 seconds slower than it took Intisaab when landing the 17-runner massively competitive Tote Scurry Handicap some 35 minutes earlier.
Intisaab is a seasoned 103-rated seven-year-old who beat his year younger, equally seasoned, 107-rated rival Ardhoomey by three parts of a length.
Perhaps, I am getting entirely carried away with Viadera and reading far too much into all of this. Time, as usual, will reveal all.
I am very much looking forward to getting a tank of money out of Aidan O’Brien’s Magical, as the campaign progresses.
She is surely destined for a lucrative second half of the season, on the basis of her smooth success in a Group 2 at the Curragh on Sunday.
Magical was reportedly sweating profusely in the parade ring beforehand - no chance of finding that out on At The Races - and carried a fair bit of sweat as well through the nine furlongs contest.
But it made no difference and the daughter of Galileo made all of the running to beat the well-exposed I’m So Fancy by a comfortable two and three-quarter lengths.
The three-year-old will face far more difficult assignments in the future, but this was a really solid effort from a horse returning after a 98-day absence.
She hadn’t been seen since making her seasonal debut when fourth of eight in a Group 3 on heavy ground at Longchamp in the middle of April.
Last season Magical was a more than useful two-year-old and the fact showed a definite preference for an ease in the surface augurs well for her prospects, heading into the autumn.
The other horse to take out of the Curragh at the weekend was surely O’Brien’s Forever Together, who came right back to her best when mugged close home by Sea Of Class, under an inspirational James Doyle drive, in the Irish Oaks.
The Epsom Oaks winner Forever Together, like Magical, is at her best when there is an ease in the ground and, when the rain finally arrives in Britain and Ireland, it surely won’t stop for a while!
FOR years and years, as we powered west to Galway, we knew that a good week for Dermot Weld would ensure a good week for us.
But those days are now gone and following Weld blindly next week is almost certain to lead to plenty of pain and is not to be recommended.
The world has changed from the so-called good old days. Weld’s horses are in decent enough form, in contrast to a year ago, going into the meeting, but he doesn’t appear to have the overall firepower to dominate as he has done on so many occasions in the past.
As well as that there is just so much more competition now. Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott are likely to have strong National Hunt teams and both are more than capable of banging in winners on the flat as well.
And then Weld has to compete with the Aidan O’Brien-Joseph O’Brien battalions, so is unlikely to get anything easy.
At the Curragh last Saturday, Weld introduced a newcomer in Third World, which was a big eye-catcher when fourth behind Jim Bolger’s Guaranteed in a seven furlongs maiden.
Starting an unconsidered 25-1 shot, Third World ran a cracking race and, arguably, had Galway written all over him.
Ordinarily, one would look no further for the likely winner of that seven furlongs maiden on Monday night, a race Weld has farmed in the past. But life just isn’t that simple anymore!
Last year, Weld trained just two winners at the festival and had to wait for the Saturday, Aydoun in a maiden hurdle, to get off the mark.
You would have to wonder now just how determined he is to set the record straight. At the Curragh last Saturday, Weld saddled the first-timer, Falcon Flight, to take a mile and a half maiden.
Then at Ballinrobe on Monday night another newcomer, the Teofilo colt, Mutaabeq, landed a tasty gamble when easily winning a ten furlongs maiden.
Would it not have been reasonable for us to think that both of those horses might have waited for Galway.
Food for thought, or what?
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