Havana Grey's half-brother and Mendelssohn's first runner in Ireland square off
Two-year-olds are among the colts having their first run at Curragh on Saturday
The silks that could be carried by Campanelle or Ruthin - or both - at Royal Ascot next month will be in evidence in the opener (1.35) at the Curragh on Saturday, and the debutant colt concerned certainly has an illustrious sibling.
Owned by Stonestreet Stables - think Curlin, among many others - the Jessica Harrington-trained Blanc De Noir is by Showcasing and out of Blanc De Chine, the dam of none other than Group 1 Flying Five Stakes winner Havana Grey and now promising sire at Whitsbury Manor Stud.
Havana Grey was an excellent two-year-old as well as a Group 1 winner at three, finishing first or second in seven of his eight starts, four of which were wins, including the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes and National Stakes and Dragon Stakes at Listed level.
Blanc De Chine has also had a couple of other winners in Lady Caroline and Havana Ooh Na Na, the latter a full-brother to Havana Grey, the pair by Havana Gold.
Their juvenile half-brother has had a couple of entries but starts his career here in a maiden over six furlongs sponsored by Tally Ho Stud, and it will be interesting to see how Shane Foley’s mount gets on in what looks likely to prove an informative curtain-raiser on Irish 2,000 Guineas day.
Ryan Moore’s ride here is Congo River, a son of Mendelssohn who is his sire’s first runner in Ireland.
Mendelssohn has at least four claims to fame, being a $3 million Keeneland September Yearling purchase, an incredible 18 and a half-length winner of a Group 2, namely the UAE Derby, and a Breeders’ Cup winner when taking the Juvenile Turf in 2017 at Del Mar.
He is also from breed-shaping dam Leslie’s Lady, producer also of Beholder and Into Mischief but who sadly died in January this year aged 26.
Congo River is out of Grand Slam’s daughter Tessie Flip and is therefore closely related to US turf sprint winner Jo Jo Air and a half-brother to two US turf winners over five furlongs.
Mendelssohn did his winning at around a mile, and it will be intriguing to see how much pace his landmark runner, owned by the Coolmore lads in partnership with George von Opel’s Westerberg, possesses in a maiden in which most of the 12 runners are appearing in public for the first time.
Interestingly, his Aidan O’Brien-trained stablemate Age Of Kings wore the same silks when second on his debut, beaten only a nose, at Naas earlier this month and is again the mount of Wayne Lordan - possibly suggesting he is Ballydoyle’s number two here behind Congo River.
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