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Longines Irish Champions Weekend Group 1 Juvenile Races Again Attract The Best

June 6, 2017

It’s a race that has consistently produced the very best and this years Group 1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh, on day two of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend on September 10, has attracted the cream of the two-year-old crop once again.

Nine subsequent European champion two-year-old colts have won this race in the past 14 years, including Churchill, already successful in the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas this term, and this years race has attracted a total of 102 entries, an increase of 12 on last year.

Aidan O’Brien, seeking a fourth straight win in the race, and a 12th overall, has entered 28 horses, among them Royal Ascot fancy Declarationofpeace and Murillo, so impressive on his second start at Tipperary. Also among the Ballydoyle contingent is the unraced Ancient City, a three-parts brother by Frankel to last years Epsom Derby runner-up US Army Ranger.

Jessica Harrington sent out Pathfork to win this race in 2010 and the leading dual-purpose trainer has made four entries including Coventry Stakes hope Brother Bear, the unbeaten colt who won with authoritative ease the Listed Cold Move Irish EBF Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh last time.

Joseph O’Brien has entered his Listed Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes winner True Blue Moon while Beckford, trained by Gordon Elliott, and Ken Condon’s Romanised, both winners on their sole starts to date, are also entered.  Dermot Weld has made 13 entries, all unraced, and they include Falcon Flight, closely related to Free Eagle, and Sapiens, a son of Frankel and the Group 1 winner Etoile Montante. Jim Bolger has put 11 horses in the race and notable among them is National Security, a full-brother to Parish Hall which was a good servant to the stable a few years back.

There are 27 entries from Britain, an increase of four on 2016. Denaar, unbeaten in two starts, has been entered by Richard Hannon. Charlie Appleby has entered 12 horses including the Goodwood winner Masar, Zaman, successful at York and the unraced Pitch Dark which cost €1.1 million when topping the Goffs November Foal Sale in 2015. Nebo was an impressive winner at the first time of asking for Charlie Hills at Newbury.

Harrington’s incredible 2017 is underlined by the fact that her filly catches the eye most in the 68 entries for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on September 10. Alpha Centauri won the Listed Coolmore Stud EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes by all of five lengths at Naas last month and she leads a high class entry. Aidan O’Brien has made 18 entries for the race and they include some regally-bred types including Clemmie, a full-sister to Churchill who went close to winning at the first time of asking at the Curragh late last month. The unraced Conquest is a full-sister to Minding, the 2015 winner of this race while Happily is a full-sister to Gleneagles, and Magical is a full-sister to Rhododendron.

Intricately gave Joseph O’Brien his first Group 1 success as a trainer in the Moyglare Stud Stakes last season and he has made two entries for this year’s renewal, the recent Curragh runner-up Now You’re Talking and the unraced Dream Malfunction. The Ger Lyons-trained Black Sails won on her first start at the Curragh in the middle of last month and a more recent winner at the same venue is Jim Bolger’s Gasta. Bolger is bidding for a third win in this race and among his 12 entries is the unraced Park Bloom, a full-sister to Was and Douglas Macarthur.

Dermot Weld has made eight entries as he bids for a second Moyglare success and among the dozen are the Dundalk winner Fille Du Septembre, the unraced Million Smiles, a half-sister to the Longines Hong Kong Vase winner Dominant, and another that has yet to see the racecourse is Hazel Bay, a half-sister to both Youmzain and Creachadoir. Among Kevin Prendergast’s entries are Alghabrah, which is a half-sister to his Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Awtaad, and My Daydream whose dam Termagant was successful in this race in 2009.

There are 11 entries in the Moyglare Stud Stakes from Britain including the Charlie Appleby-trained Carriwitchet, a half-sister to three Group 1 winners and her stable companion Poetic Charm, a half-sister to Teofilo. The Saeed Bin Suroor-trainer Winter Lightning is a half-sister to recent Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Thunder Snow.

Derek McGrath, CEO of Curragh Racecourse Ltd, said: We are delighted to see that the entries are very strong for both races which form a key part of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend fixture at the Curragh. The weekend event, where the best in the world come to compete on September 9 and 10 at Leopardstown and Curragh racecourses, continues to distinguish itself with top quality racing, as it becomes a leading feature of the Irish sporting calendar.

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