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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Five runners to follow on the Flat in Ireland this year

The Pentagon (purple): looks a genuine Grade 1 horse
1 of 1

Our Irish team nominate their horse to follow for the 2018 Flat season

Alghabrah
Trainer: Kevin Prendergast
Three-year-old bay filly Tamayuz – Asheerah (Shamardal)

The family of this filly has proven to be very important in the latter stages of Kevin Prendergast's great career with her half-brother, Awtaad, winning the Irish 2,000 Guineas in 2016.

She made a hugely promising debut in a mile maiden at Leopardstown in October – settling off the pace but looking inexperienced in the closing stages – when the decent winner Contingent got first run.

Alghabrah: has a 1,000 Guineas entry

The way this filly saw her race out and the manner in which she put some daylight between herself and the remainder was more than encouraging.

She holds an entry in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, which may not be fanciful at this stage. If she doesn't turn out to be stakes class it will be disappointing.
Justin O'Hanlon

Contingent
Dermot Weld
3 b f Frankel - Proportional (Beat Hollow)

As a daughter of Frankel and Prix Marcel Boussac winner Proportional, Contingent had plenty going for her before her first appearance in a maiden at Leopardstown last October.

However, being drawn 18 of 18 was not an ideal scenario in a mile contest and a significant concern for a filly lacking in race-craft.

Leopardstown Sun 22 October 2017 Picture: Caroline Norris Contingent ridden by Pat Smullen winning The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden

Any such fears were unfounded. After breaking smartly she was restrained by Smullen until challenging wide two furlongs down. She quickened away from two well-related, better drawn fillies – Alghabrah (above) and Forever Together, a sister to Dubai Fillies' Mile winner Together Forever.

A possible Guineas candidate, she should stay at least ten furlongs later in her career.
Alan Sweetman 

The Pentagon 
Aidan O'Brien
3 b c Galileo - Vadawina (Unfuwain)

Raced four times last year and showed enough to suggest he can be a major player over middle distances this season. Won a Curragh maiden by a wide margin on his second start and followed up with a Group 3 win at Leopardstown.
 
However, it was his final start of the campaign that indicated what he might be capable of. Having missed three weeks work between his Leopardstown win and the Racing Post Trophy, he ran on well to finish third behind stablemate Saxon Warrior.
 
Likely to start off in a Derby trial, he looks a genuine Group 1 horse.
Tony O'Hehir

Lightening Quick
Ger Lyons
3 b f Frankel - Lightening Pearl

Highly regarded ahead of her debut at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend, this beautifully-bred daughter of Frankel and the stable's 2011 Group 1 heroine Lightening Pearl, duly lived up to her reputation. 

Lightening Quick (maroon): won well on debut

Having sat close to the pace, she produced a devastating turn of foot to mow down Bye Bye Baby under Colin Keane. It was a performance that had a bit of everything and hinted at a bright future, but she then ran a little flat when turned out 20 days later in the Rockfel Stakes, by which time the ground had gone. 

The Irish 1,000 Guineas is her only big-race entry at this point and it would be no surprise to see her rock up there in mean condition.
Richard Forristal

Kew Gardens
Aidan O'Brien 
3 b c Galileo - Chelsea Rose 

There are sexier models on the catwalk at Ballydoyle right now, but Kew Gardens looks the type to excel at three and quotes of 25-1 about him winning the Investec Derby look very generous indeed. 

The colt he beat out of sight in a Killarney maiden won next time out at the same venue by eight and a half lengths and is now rated 87.

He bumped into Nelson and Saxon Warrior in Group races over a mile on his next two starts, but it was only on his first try over 1m2f that we got to see the real potential of Kew Gardens. 

Kew Gardens: staying trips look his bag

The manner of that Zetland Stakes success at Newmarket in October was very easy on the eye and Aidan O'Brien immediately chalked him down as a Derby candidate.

He has strengthened up considerably over the winter, according to his trainer, and there are far worse ante-post wagers than backing him for the Derby and the St Leger at 25-1 for both.
David Jennings


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The Irish 1,000 Guineas is her only big-race entry at this point and it would be no surprise to see her rock up there in mean condition
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