Frenetic looked a colt with great natural speed when winning on debut and he can follow up in the listed Gain First Flier Stakes, the sixth race on today’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby card at the Curragh.
Ger Lyons’ runner went off favourite that day and, after a quick break, made all for a comfortable success. This is a nice next step for the colt, and he can prove too quick for Ballydoyle runner Chief Little Hawk.
The Derby itself has a wide-open look. In terms of class, it does not look a great renewal, but it is certainly competitive and any one of ten horses winning would not be a surprise. The O’Brien dynasty dominates the field, with Aidan’s Ballydoyle operation responsible for six of the 15 runners, son Joseph saddling three and Donnacha his first in the race.
O’Brien senior can show the way once more, by chalking up a remarkable 14th win in the race, this time with maiden Dawn Patrol. The selection was behind Tiger Moth last time, but things did not go his way that day and, as then, more can be expected today. A small step forward from that performance should be enough to ensure he is heavily involved.
At similar odds, Sherpa can go well for Donnacha O’Brien. Rated 90 after three runs last season for Aidan, the colt switched to the care of Donnacha for this season and was well backed to win a Group 3 on his return. Third behind Crossfirehurricane and Gold Maze, both of which re-oppose, he was unlucky in running that day and is deserving of plenty of respect this time.
Twilight Payment can take the finale, the Group 3 Comer Group International Vintage Crop Stakes, for Joseph O’Brien. On return, in a race in which the leaders appeared to go fast, he stayed on well to finish second behind the patiently ridden Nickajack Cave. That was his first run of the season, he should be better for it, and can now claim a first winning bracket since joining O’Brien. Stablemate Master Of Reality can follow him home.
On tomorrow’s card in the Curragh, Make A Challenge can take the Group 2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes for Denis Hogan. He made his seasonal debut in a listed race at Naas and trounced his rivals. He is entitled to be better for that run and can take this at the expense of Forever In Dreams and Speak In Colours.
There are a lot of unknown quantities in the Barronstown Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Maiden, but Snowball showed immense promise on debut and it will take a well-above-average newcomer to beat her today.
Aidan O’Brien’s two-year-old was very green that day and found the five-and-a-half-furlong trip far too sharp but was noted getting the hang of things late on. The step up to seven furlongs will be a huge help to the daughter Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes (12 furlongs) winner Best In The World.
She’s a terrific prospect and can get off to winning ways.