Royal Ascot heroine tops Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes entries
Battaash, Siskin and Summer Romance among strong entries for Curragh’s trio of Group 1s
Royal Ascot winner Watch Me, dual Guineas winner Hermosa and last year’s victor Laurens head a strong entry for the Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
The contest is the first of six Group 1 races on Longines Irish Champions Weekend which takes place at Leopardstown and the Curragh on Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15.
Trained by Francis Graffard, Watch Me got the better of the Aidan O'Brien-trained Hermosa, already successful in the 1,000 Guineas at both Newmarket and the Curragh this season, to win the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. She is one of four French-trained entries for the race and could be joined by her unbeaten stable companion Bowled Over, the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained French Oaks runner-up Commes and Pascal Bary’s Obligate, herself unbeaten in three starts.
There are 13 British-trained entries with last year’s winner Laurens leading the way for trainer Karl Burke. William Haggas has made seven entries including Move Swiftly, winner of the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Curragh Group 2 winner Beshaayir and One Master, behind Beshaayir in the Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh and then third to Lord Glitters in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
In addition to Hermosa, Aidan O'Brien has made ten other entries including dual Group 1 winner Magical, narrow Epsom Oaks runner-up Pink Dogwood and I Can Fly. Skitter Scatter, winner of the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes on Longines Irish Champions Weekend last year has been entered by John Oxx while Iridessa, last year’s Group 1 Fillies’ Mile winner at Newmarket and successful in last Friday’s Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, is one of two entries from Joseph O'Brien.
Pat Keogh, Chief Executive of Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “We’re delighted to see the quality of entries for the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes, which is a testament to its calibre as the highest rated fillies and mares’ race in the world for the past two years. We are very pleased to see a strong overseas contingent with almost half the entries coming from Britain and France. Longines Irish Champions Weekend has firmly established itself as a major international event.”
For the second year, the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes is being run as a Group 1 and a strong British-trained challenge is headed by Battaash, Soldier’s Call and Mabs Cross which finished second, third and fourth behind the now-retired Blue Point in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. There is a total of 19 British-trained entries among the 40 in the race and another possible in the raiding party is the Commonwealth Cup third Hello Youmzain.
Commonwealth Cup runner-up Forever In Dreams has been entered by Aidan Fogarty while Aidan O'Brien has Ten Sovereigns, Le Brivido and Sergei Prokofiev among his early team of eight. The ever-improving Soffia has been entered by Edward Lynam who won the race with Sole Power in 2015.
Saturday’s impressive Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes winner Siskin heads the entries for the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. He is unbeaten in three runs for Ger Lyons who has also put his Leopardstown winner Justifier in the race.
Aidan O'Brien dominates the entries and among the Ballydoyle contingent of 40 is the Coventry Stakes winner Arizona, Chesham Stakes runner-up Lope Y Fernandez and dual winner Pistoletto. O’Brien’s entries also include a number of un-raced colts including Mogul, a full-brother to the recent Royal Ascot winner Japan, Nobel Prize which is a full-brother to both Highland Reel and Idaho, and Vatican City, a full-brother to Gleneagles, Marvellous and Happily.
There are 23 British-trained entries among a total entry of 86 and they include the Coventry Stakes second and third, Threat, trained by Richard Hannon and the Archie Watson-trained Guildsman.
The Roger Varian-trained Daahyeh, successful in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, and the impressive Newmarket winner Summer Romance, trained by Charlie Appleby, are among nine British-trained entries among the 79 horses in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. Final Song, third in the Queen Mary Stakes, has been entered by trainer Saeed bin Suroor while the home team includes the Ken Condon-trained Albany Stakes runner-up Celtic Beauty.
Aidan O'Brien has a strong squad to choose from and high up in the pecking order must be Etoile which made a winning debut in the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes at Naas. Jessica Harrington also has a strong team engaged with last Friday’s Group 2 Airlie Stud Stakes winner Albigna a possible along with maiden winners Windracer and Cayenne Pepper.
Evan Arkwright, Racing Manager of the Curragh racecourse, commented: “It is important that the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five, as the only all-age Group 1 sprint in Ireland, attracts some of the fastest horses in Europe and with entries this year including Battaash, Forever In Dreams, Hit The Bid, Ten Sovereigns and Mabs Cross, we have the potential to stage a memorable race. The Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes continue to attract the very best juveniles, and will carry record prize-money to further enhance the quality and competitiveness of both races.”