Three meetings across the weekend, and plenty of top-class racing to savour. At the Curragh this afternoon, Toscanini gets the nap to take the Group 3 Renaissance Stakes for trainer Mick Halford and jockey Shane Foley.
A very smart juvenile, when his form included a runner-up finish behind Gleneagles in the National Stakes, he is rapidly developing into a leading sprinter, and ran a superb race in defeat behind Mattmu at the Curragh a couple of weeks ago.
He’s a strong traveller, goes on fast ground and, with plenty of pace in the race, should get a lead for as long as he needs. That should give his rider an opportunity to put his nose in front right on the line.
Ballydoyle can land the Group 2 Debutante Stakes for trainer Aidan O’Brien, who is responsible for three of the eight runners.
The selection caught the eye in defeat on debut, and duly stepped forward from that effort when a shade unlucky not to get up in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. She was sent to Newmarket for her next start, and justified odds-on favouritism with an authoritative victory in a fillies’ maiden.
Runner-up Nemoralia, who was well backed that day, went on to shed her maiden status at Kempton next time out. In victory, there were still signs of greenness from Ballydoyle, and an improved performance can be expected here.
She is preferred to stable companion Alice Springs, and Most Beautiful. The former looked very smart on debut, and found only the very promising Tanaza too good on her next start. She has scope for improvement, and should also reach the frame.
At Killarney, Zafayan can earn a belated victory over hurdles by taking the opening race for Dermot Weld. Runner-up to Bachasson and Tigris River on his two starts at the Galway Festival, he should prove more suited to this flatter track, and sets a very high standard on what he has already achieved. Those with hurdling form have something to find, while it’ll take a well above-average newcomer to lower his colours.
There’s a terrific card at the Curragh tomorrow afternoon, and Shogun gets the nap selection to take the Group 2 Galileo Futurity Stakes. The brother to Epsom Oaks winner Qualify was a disappointing favourite on debut, at this track, but made amends in some style, with blinkers applied, on his second start. Sharper for his first experience, he was able to race prominently before travelling well to lead late for a very smooth success.
There’s every reason to expect further improvement and, with stamina as a strong suit, it’ll be no surprise if jockey Joseph O’Brien tries to dictate from the outset. If he can do so, he can draw the sting out of Herald The Dawn, who quickened up impressively to shed his maiden status at Naas. The last-named is feared most.
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