Teofilo and Emperor set for battle royal

WON’T it be great if Holy Roman Emperor and Teofilo go head-to-head in Sunday’s Group One National Stakes at the Curragh?

That certainly has the makings of a race to savour and the winner would surely have to be regarded as the best two-year-old in these islands.

Jim Bolger, not given to making silly statements, is on record as saying Teofilo is the best colt he has ever trained.

That is some praise, considering Bolger also trained St Jovite, who won the Irish Derby by a street and was also successful in the King George at Ascot.

Teofilo, a son of the prolific Galileo, is unbeaten in three races and has that star quality, the ability to put his head down and battle when danger threatens.

His short career so far has been one of natural progression, starting with a maiden win at the Curragh, followed by a Listed success at Leopardstown and then he beat Eagle Mountain a hard-earned head in the Group Two Futurity Stakes at the Curragh.

That latest performance was a smart effort by Bolger’s charge, because he ran much too freely for his own good in the early stages and still had enough in reserve to resist the second in the latter half of the contest.

Eagle Mountain didn’t let the side down when a mildly unlucky runner-up in another Group Two at York last Saturday.

In Holy Roman Emperor, however, Teofilo will face easily his most talented opponent to date. Eagle Mountain’s stable companion already has a Group One victory under his belt.

I thought he put up the best performance by any juvenile this season when storming away from Hellvelyn in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last month.

All we need now is for the weather to behave itself, the Curragh had plenty of rain yesterday, on the lead-in to the race. Teofilo wants decent ground and the same is the case with Holy Roman Emperor, as a son of Danehill.

Holy Roman Emperor is surely a faster horse than Teofilo, so the battle of tactics will be fascinating.

Kevin Manning will have to commit first on Teofilo and the question is will they be able to resist the late burst of Holy Roman Emperor and Mr Fallon?

ONE of the main reasons, when RTE covers racing, that it is almost compulsive viewing is the fact Ted Walsh works for them.

Love him or hate him, agree or disagree with the man, there is no disputing he calls it very much as he sees it.

And that, in the boringly, frequently excrutiatingly, politically correct world which we now inhabit, is to be applauded.

Walsh was critical of Jamie Spencer, after he had partnered Ouija Board to finish a neck second to Dylan Thomas in the Baileys’ Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.

He said Spencer was likely to have “nightmares’ when he looked back on the race. Personally, I would not agree, but absolutely delighted in his courage in spitting out straight the way he felt.

There are those in the media in this country who might have been thinking along the same lines, but not in a million years would most have had the balls to utter a word.

Anyway, I felt Dylan Thomas won on merit, although the possibility such an opinion is clouded by availing of the 9-4 that was on offer should not be dismissed! Ouija Board has been on the go a long time and this admirable mare had a grueller with Alexander Goldrun at Goodwood previously.

To my eyes she was simply beaten by a colt who was younger and fresher than her and rapidly on the upgrade! WATCHED almost in horror on Saturday when Angelonmyshoulder cruised to victory in a maiden at Leopardstown.

The colt’s chance was obvious, but his behaviour when making his debut, also at Leopardstown, posed certain questions.

Don’t know how many noticed him down at the start that afternoon, but let’s just say he was strutting his stuff and would not have been out of place at Coolmore.

No signs of such carry-on come Saturday, but the seeds of doubt had been sewn and a winner was missed.

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