Curragh eyecatchers: five horses to follow on Irish Oaks weekend
The Kerrygold Irish Oaks takes centre stage at the Curragh this weekend, but there is plenty of action over the two-day meeting to support Saturday's Classic. Here, Robbie Wilders identifies five horses to follow.
Although Ballydoyle's well-regarded Year Of The Tiger failed to justify a short price in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes last weekend, he was impressive when winning his maiden at Naas and the second home Innisfree shaped like a surefire future winner.
Making his debut, Innisfree was the only runner noted making late ground from the rear to close on his winning stablemate and can be expected to improve a bundle for that outing.
Aidan O'Brien's two-year-olds seldom do not show marked progression from their first runs and a bold showing is predicted should the son of Galileo line up in the 7f maiden.
6½f Scurry Handicap
Southern Horse was tasked with a daunting assignment when thrown into the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot on his first start for Jim Bolger but was not disgraced in finishing midfield, six lengths adrift of Cape Byron.
The four-year-old then built on that display to secure fourth behind the high-class Speak In Colours in the Listed Dash Stakes at the Curragh, a performance that suggested he could be well treated off a mark of 102 in the Scurry Handicap.
Southern Horse is also entered in a pair of Group 2 contests over the weekend, implying he is considered a Pattern performer in the making, but his rating looks enticing and this would appeal as his most likely target.
Much to the dismay of his rival trainers, Willie Mullins has enjoyed great success rerouting his jumpers to the Flat in recent years and Royal Illusion seems to be his latest project.
The seven-year-old was defeated at even-money by Alan King's Grade 2 winner The Glancing Queen in a Cheltenham bumper last November and Royal Illusion has been allotted a mark of 82 after three good runs on the Flat this summer, with form figures of 211.
Entering handicap company as something of an unknown quantity, the mare could make a mockery of that rating.
1m1f Kilboy Estate Stakes
William Haggas and owner Sheikh Dalmook Al Maktoum have an excellent group of older fillies and Move Swiftly could be at the top of the pile.
Triumphing in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes on her seasonal bow was an impressive effort and all the signs are that the daughter of Farhh has improved a bundle since her three-year-old campaign.
The filly holds lofty Group 1 entries in the Nassau Stakes and the Matron Stakes, and would have a lot going for her if taking aim at the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes this weekend.
The fact King Pellinor remains a maiden after three starts may be something of a surprise for his astute team but the son of Camelot might be ready to grace the winner's enclosure for the first time at the Curragh.
Sent off 4-5 favourite in the maiden won by subsequent Epsom Derby favourite Sir Dragonet, King Pellinor disappointed that day. However, his previous third at Limerick breeds hope for the future.
Retrospectively he bumped into one in the shape Trossachs, who has bolted up in both starts since. King Pellinor still holds Group entries further down the line and may be seen to better effect should faster ground prevail.
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