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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Five horses bidding to make the headlines on a Classic weekend

Curragh: stages two days of top-class action
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Cliffs Of Moher

Aidan O'Brien has won the Tattersalls Gold Cup with horses like Duke Of Marmalade (2008), Fame And Glory (2010) and So You Think (2011 and 2012), so confidence will be high that Cliffs Of Moher, narrowly denied in last year's Derby, can make the breakthrough at Group 1 level on Sunday.

Cliffs Of Moher: was one of the horses on the affected flight

Back to winning ways under a brilliant Ryan Moore ride in the Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas last time, Cliffs Of Moher’s chances of victory have been boosted by the fact that Cracksman is heading to Epsom instead of the Curragh.

Who’s Steph

Ger Lyons suggested that new owner George Strawbridge would use the prize-money Who's Steph earned for winning her second Guineas trial at Leopardstown this month to supplement for the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Who's Steph has been supplemented to run in the Irish 1,000 Guineas

True to his word, Strawbridge has stumped up the €30,000 to run on Sunday and the daughter of Zoffany is a best-priced 10-1. Fair play to them for rolling the dice as it offers even more intrigue to the race. 


Standing in the way of Who’s Steph is Aidan O’Brien and his terrific record in the race, and the Ballydoyle squad looks likely to be headed by Newmarket 1,000 Guineas third Happily.

Happily: heads O'Brien's squad in the 1,000 Guineas

Chasing his eighth success in the race, O’Brien could also run Clemmie, but with race fitness on her side Happily will be well fancied to make up for her Newmarket defeat and will probably be the choice of Ryan Moore.

Gustav Klimt

There was something of a wow factor surrounding Gustav Klimt's reappearance victory in the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.

Not least because of the style of the performance, with Gustav Klimt keeping on to beat a highly regarded colt under hands and heels riding from Ryan Moore, the success achieved off the back of a 273-day break on unsuitably heavy ground.

Gustav Klimt and Ryan Moore win the Ballylich Stud 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes

Gustav Kilmt failed to back up that effort in the 2,000 Guineas but that has not been a barrier to success for the likes of Power and Roderic O'Connor, both of whom were beaten in the Newmarket Classic before landing the Irish equivalent.


If there is a potential dark horse in either of this weekend’s Classics, Zihba could be the one.

An unbeaten son of Choisir, Zihba went under the radar when winning his first two starts at Dundalk, before dishing out a beating to some decent older horses on his turf debut in the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown this month.

Zihba (centre) and Chris Hayes land the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown

The drying ground will be in his favour and, in what looks an open Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Fozzy Stack-trained colt could go well for Chris Hayes. 

Curragh Saturday card

Curragh Sunday card


If there’s a potential dark horse in either of this weekend’s Classics, well then Fozzy Stack’s Zihba could be the one
E.W. Terms
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