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Classic winner's brother among head-turning cast of newcomers at the Curragh

Our resident bloodstock experts profile the well-bred eyecatchers and expensive purchases set to grace the track.


McDonnells Bar Newbridge Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden (5.25 Curragh, Saturday)

What's the story?

Ballydoyle’s Jan Brueghel, who debuts as a three-year-old in the last race at the Curragh, is just one of quite a few on Saturday's card eminently qualified for this feature, however the fact he is a brother to a Derby hero gives him the nod.

That brother is Sovereign, the 33-1 front-running winner of the 2019 Irish Derby, in which he beat that year’s Epsom winner and stablemate Anthony Van Dyck by six lengths under Padraig Beggy.

How's he bred?

By the late phenomenon Galileo, dam Devoted To You, by Danehill Dancer, was a maiden winner and Group 2-placed for the Aidan O’Brien yard.

She was mated predominantly with the 12-time champion sire and has produced five winners to date; interestingly, a couple of them are winners on both the Flat and over hurdles.

The best of her brood is undoubtedly Classic winner Sovereign, who was runner-up to Enable in the King George the summer after his day in the sun at the Curragh.

Sovereign and Padraig Beggy run away with the Irish Derby - his brother debuts at the Curragh on Saturday
Sovereign and Padraig Beggy run away with the Irish Derby - his brother debuts at the Curragh on SaturdayCredit: Patrick McCann (

Dawn Rising has showed high-class form too, winning the Queen Alexandra Stakes at the royal meeting last year, and he has been third in top-grade company in both codes, behind Eldar Eldarov in the 2023 Irish St Leger and Champ Kiely in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle earlier last year.

Handicapper Loyal Touch – by No Nay Never – won for the third time at Newcastle in March and finished in mid-division at the Dante meeting last week.

Who does he face?

Trethorn is a Stonethorn Stud homebred who makes his debut for the Jessica Harrington yard. By Dubawi, he is the first foal out of the Invincible Spirit mare Trethias, a Listed winner and also Group-placed.

Both of Johnny Murtagh’s runners are Aga Khan homebreds. Kalkanti is by Zarak and out of the Oratorio mare Katiola, dam of the Group-placed Katiba among four winners. Viyanni is by Almanzor out of the lightly raced Azamour mare Viyana, dam of maiden winner Varijoun.

Anything else of interest?

Oh yes. The opener for two-year-olds at the Curragh on Saturday features Henri Matisse, by Wootton Bassett and out of the dual Group 1 winner Immortal Verse, who has transferred her talent to the paddocks, producing Group 1 winner Tenebrism, by Caravaggio, and his half-sister by Justify, Statuette, a Group 2 winner.

His Aidan O’Brien-trained stablemate Gun Carriage is by, yes, Gun Runner, out of a Graded-placed dam and set MV Magnier back $1,250,000 at Keeneland last September.

On jockey bookings, Henri Matisse is number one, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

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