Strong O’Brien hand in Phoenix

AIDAN O’BRIEN is responsible for six of the 13 confirmations for the Independent Waterford Wedgwood Phoenix Stakes as he seeks a ninth success in the Curragh feature on Sunday.

The Ballydoyle trainer has saddled eight of the last nine winners of the Group One for two-year-olds, including George Washington and Holy Roman Emperor.

He missed out in 2004 when Oratorio could only finish second behind the David Wachman-trained Damson.

Henrythenavigator, winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, heads his possibles. A formidable team is completed by You’resothrilling, Listen, Warsaw, South Dakota and Magna Cum Laude.

Ger Lyons’s Elletelle and Tommy Stack’s The Loan Express, a respective first and third in the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting, could do battle again.

The home team is completed by the Jim Bolger-trained pair Saoirse Abu and Solas Na Greine plus Canon Ball from John Hayden’s Kildare yard.

Two British entries, Jeremy Noseda’s Captain Royale and Neville Callaghan’s Exhibition, make up the list.

Hayden later revealed likely outsider Canon Ball will not run in the Phoenix.

“He’s a good horse but he needs more time,” said the County Kildare handler. “He won’t run on the 12th (August) as he won’t be ready.”

The two-year-old colt also holds an entry in the Grangecon Stud EBF Maiden on the same day but Hayden confirmed he will not run in that either.

“His time will come but he won’t be ready that soon,” he concluded.

Meanwhile English and Irish 1000 Guineas winner Finsceal Beo features among a fascinating 12-strong entry for Sunday’s United Arab Emirates Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh.

Jim Bolger’s star filly has not raced since finishing eighth in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and would be taking on the colts for the first time this season in this Group Two event, as well as having a first attempt at 10 furlongs.

She is also entered in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard-Jacques le Marois at Deauville on the same afternoon in Deauville. But if staying at home, she can expect to face a strong team from the Aidan O’Brien yard.

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