It is hard to believe that there is now less than two months before the end of the flat season but there is still lots to look forward to.
We're hoping to have several strong representatives on Irish Champions Weekend in just under two weeks time.
Devonshire – Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes (Group 1) September 10th She has already been a star for us this season with her Group 2 win at the Curragh on Guineas weekend. The Matron has been her aim for the last couple of months and I’m pleased how she has been going at home. She will probably need another career best to feature, but she is heading into the race in great shape and is showing us that she is at least as good as ever in her homework so hopefully she will give a good account of herself. She copes well with an ease in the ground, so we have plenty to look forward to with her over the course of the autumn.
Holiday Girl – Ballylinch Stud EBF Fillies Maiden September 10th At this stage she looks like being our only other runner on the first day of Champions Weekend. She will take her chance in a 7f fillies maiden that usually turns out to be quite a smart race but I do think that she is up to holding her own in good company. She is one of a number of lovely two-year-olds that we have for Godolphin and, like a lot of them, she should progress well through the last couple of months of the season. On her debut, she ran a nice race to take third in a six furlong fillies maiden at Leopardstown a few weeks ago and the benefit of that experience coupled with a slightly longer trip should see her step forward nicely.
Photograph compliments of David Betts Photography ©
Downforce – Irish Stallion Farms EBF Bold Lad Sprint Handicap September 11th He began his season in great style to win handicaps at Sligo and the Curragh. On his last couple of starts he has finished down the field but he is much better than he got to show on either occasion and his win in a useful handicap on Guineas weekend suggest that he would be up to holding his own in premier handicaps. His last run at Galway is best ignored as he was drawn wide there and could just never get involved but over six furlongs at the Curragh I think he could give a good account of himself in the Bold Lad and any ease in the ground there would help his cause. I think he is going to make a lovely sprinter next year.
Oakledge – Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes September 11th This colt will take his chance in the valuable Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes at the Curragh. He is a most straight forward uncomplicated colt who has run with credit on both his starts so far and I think he’s entitled to take his chance in what is a hugely valuable pot. His debut run at Dundalk where he was third to a filly rated in the 90s was a good one and he lost nothing in defeat when second at Navan last weekend. I would hope there is more to come from him and the strongly run six furlongs of the sales race should suit him well. Over the last few weeks the horses have been in fine heart and pride of place must go to Erysimum who came out the right side of a five-way photo to win the Listed Ruby Stakes at Killarney recently. She is the first horse that we have had for Barouche Stud and she has progressed exceptionally well since getting off the mark at Sligo in early May. As a filly who does enjoy an ease in the ground she was given a mid-summer break before the autumn and with a Listed win to her name she will now step up further in grade. A race like the Group 3 Concorde Stakes at Tipperary in early October is one that could suit her very well.
On the same evening at Killarney Valentana made it two wins in a row in a mile handicap. Since she has learnt to settle this filly has really turned a corner and the manner of her win at Killarney suggest that she could yet do better still. Her owners John and Janice Liggett have been especially patient with her and I’m thrilled that she has been able to reward them over the last few weeks. Like Valentana, Ostatnia formed part of a treble for the yard at Tipperary in early August. This filly has given her owner Stephen McCarthy a huge amount of fun over the last couple of seasons and this was her fifth win in all. She has since gone on to be Listed placed and the hope is that she can pick up more black type before the end of the season.
Also at Tipperary Elm Grove won a lady rider’s handicap to give jockey Niamh Hennessy a victory on her first ride on the track. Niamh gave her a lovely ride and I was thrilled to give her a winner as she is such a hard worker at home and has been a great asset to us. Also, Elm Grove’s owners John and Ita Malone have been very loyal, long standing supporters of the yard for the last number of years so this was a very pleasing result on all fronts. Elsewhere the likes of Evies Wish and Solar Halo are two-year-old fillies who have shown up quite well in recent weeks, and we feel that both are going to be nice prospects for 2017.