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Irish Champions Festival Sunday: Four Group One races at the Curragh

| 09.09.2023

City Of Troy puts his Classic credentials on the line in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, one of four Group One races on Irish Champions Festival Sunday at the Curragh.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt is favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas following a scintillating display in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket and is a red-hot 4/7 market leader with Coral to remain unbeaten.

He will face a colt who has achieved more to date, however, in the shape of Adrian Murray’s Bucanero Fuerte, a four-length winner of the Group One Phoenix Stakes.

His only defeat in four outings came at Royal Ascot when third to River Tiber in the Coventry Stakes and he is 2/1 here.

“This will be a mouthwatering clash between two of the most exciting two-year-olds in Ireland, but we have City Of Troy currently at the head of our betting at 4/7,” said Coral’s Lewis Knowles.

“Bucanero Fuerte is the more experienced of the pair, but Aidan O’Brien’s horse made some impression when pulling away from a good field at Newmarket last time, and he’s the one who’s attracted most support early on.”

Bucanero Fuerte will always hold a special place in Amo Racing folklore, having provided the owners with a first Group One success.

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Tom Pennington, racing and operations manager for the owners, said: “He has always been a strong stayer at six furlongs and looks as if he’s been crying out for seven. His last furlong has been his best in his last couple of races.

“At the beginning of the season, he was a big frame of a horse with an engine, now he is really maturing into the horse we hoped he would.

“Bucanero Fuerte does like to get his toe in, but we wouldn’t be overly concerned stepping up to seven – the one concern we do have is obviously City Of Troy.

“You can’t be frightened of one horse, but what he did at Newmarket, to the eye, was visually impressive. We know he will take a lot of beating, but we think we’re going there with a live chance.”

Jessica Harrington’s Givemethebeatboys is also one of 12 entries.

Hamish, Eldar Eldarov and Kyprios are on course to meet in a strong renewal of the Comer Group Irish St Leger.

William Haggas’ Hamish is unbeaten in three outings this term but would prefer to see an end to the current heatwave and is quoted at 3/1.

Roger Varian’s Elder Eldarov can be backed at 4/1 but needs to return to the form which saw him win the St Leger at Doncaster last season.

Last year’s champion stayer Kyprios is due to make his first outing of the season for O’Brien following injury and is rated a 2/1 chance behind stablemate Emily Dickinson on 13/8.

Coral’s Knowles added: “Kyprios developed as a real superstar of the staying division last season, and it will be fantastic to see him back on the track this weekend.

“He clearly has a huge chance if fully wound up for this reappearance, but Emily Dickinson brings a solid level of form to the table, and with race-fitness on her side, she’s the one punters have wanted to be with so far.”

2023 Nunthorpe Stakes, horse racing, York

John Quinn’s admirable Highfield Princess heads the betting to repeat her victory of last year in the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes on 6/4.

While she headed there off the back of winning the Nunthorpe 12 months ago, this year she was second at York but appears to be running up to the same level.

Archie Watson’s Bradsell, third at York but winner of the King’s Stand, is also one of 16 entries and can be backed at 3/1, with Curragh specialist Art Power 9/2.

The fourth Group One on the Irish Champions Festival Sunday card is the Moyglare Stud Stakes for fillies, for which O’Brien’s unbeaten Ylang Ylang appears to hold all the aces among 18 possibles.

“Ylang Ylang has been at the head of our 1000 guineas market for next year for some time now, and clearly she is very well thought of by everybody at Ballydoyle,” commented Coral’s Lewis Knowles.

“She’s currently 6/1 for that, but supporters will be hoping she can win this weekend’s Moyglare in good style, for which we currently have her at 4/5 to maintain her unbeaten record.”

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All odds and markets correct at date of publication



Tony Kelshaw