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Special Features

Class On The Curragh – Pair Of Group Races Headline Sunday Action

Runners sprint for the finish in a handicap at the Curragh.

The Curragh may host a Classic on Saturday, but their Sunday card is also extremely competitive. Featuring two Group races, we have analysed the main competitors in both, alongside bet365, who are offering £50 In Free Bets to new customers, when you sign-up and bet £10.


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More Wins Galore For Pearls?

Runner-up in two separate Group 1s last season, PEARLS GALORE comes here as the class act in the race.

Paddy Twomey’s mare was denied by just a neck in the Matron Stakes and also ran a cracker in Longchamp’s Prix de la Foret, being beaten only by the very talented Space Blues. She scored twice at group 3 level last season, though and has already claimed two more successes in as many starts in 2022.

She won cosily in the Listed Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown before winning for the first time in a Group 2. That was in the Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh against her fellow fillies and mares.

She is back against the boys here and drops to 7f, but that trip has proven just as ideal as 1m for her in the past. 

O’Brien’s Order For More Success

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA’s main claim to fame is that he arguably caused the biggest upset in the Breeders’ Cup history when claiming the Mile championship at Keeneland in 2020.

He had previously been seen as a middle distance horse, finishing fourth in the Irish Derby and winning over 1m4f at the Curragh that September. Yet for obvious reasons since, he has been kept back in trip, finishing second to Baaeed in the Prix du Moulin last term.

As importantly, he won this race a year ago on his first attempt at 7f, defeating Jessica Harrington’s Njord. He is blessed with a fair bit of pace that must have even surprised his trainer.

The field this year is stronger, but another decent run behind Baaeed opened this season for him. He was third in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and should make a stern defence of his title.

Lyons Runs The Good Dr

The leading three-year-old in the lineup is DR ZEMPF who has two wins this season for Ger Lyons. He is another who has strongly contested Group 1s.

He was as short as 5/2 for the first he ran in as a juvenile and he was only narrowly denied by Ebro River in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. He featured significantly less at Newmarket when only eighth of ten in the Middle Park Stakes.

This season has started more promisingly though, as he won at Listed level at Leopardstown over this trip. He could not cope with 1m at the Curragh, but dropped back to this distance, he won his first Group 3 in the Balycorus Stakes last month.

There is at least a touch of the sprinter about him and he could cause the older pair some problems.

Minstrel Stakes Verdict

PEARLS GALORE is the headline act and should be good enough to maintain her unbeaten start to the season. Dr Zempf and defending champion Order Of Australia are big dangers, though it should be between these three.

14.10 Romanised Minstrel Stakes (Group 2)
Result
2nd 9/4


Can Haggas And Marquand Make The Trip Pay?

They are a powerful combination, but much of the groundwork with PURPLEPAY was completed with Cedric Rossi in France.

Under Rossi’s tutelage, this filly won three times, setting her up for a tilt at the Group 1 Criterium International at the end of her juvenile season. She ran a cracker to be third to Angel Bleu on soft ground.

She was then purchased for 2,000,000 euros in December before switching to Haggas in April. Her first run was an ambitious tilt at the Irish 1000 Guineas in which she finished a creditable sixth, but she swiftly made up in grand style in the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham back in France.

That came on soft ground and that may be her preference, though she did run another decent race in the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes when upped to 1m2f last time. Even on a sounder surface, she should be right there again.

Quiet Rumbles For Twomey

Another recruit from France, RUMBLES OF THUNDER is a year older and is a second Group race chance for Paddy Twomey on Sunday.

She was a dual Listed winner on the continent and only joined Twomey in April. She ran a decent race on her stable debut, but quickly kicked on, winning another Listed race in the Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran Park over 1m1½f.

After 52 days off, she was then third to the progressive Aikhal at the Curragh at Group 3 level. That was at the end of June and was another solid performance ahead of this race.

A repeat of her Gowran Park effort would certainly give her a shout, though her form last time out may prove much better than at first glance given some time.

Stoute Seeks To Scoop The Pot

Purplepay is not the only British raider, as POTAPOVA represents Sir Michael Stoute in the colours of Cheveley Park.

The daughter of Invincible Spirit won her first two starts by a combined 14½ lengths before finishing down the field in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot. Since then, she has proven slightly frustrating.

She failed to contend at Sandown and Doncaster at Group 3 level, while two runner-up finishes opened her four-year-old season, including one in which she nearly fell out of the stalls at Epsom. 1m2f then possibly proved too far at Newcastle last time out.

Her previous two seconds would give her a squeak in this though, especially the latter of the two if she gets off to a level break. Meanwhile, an Aidan O’Brien trio of Lily Pond, The Algarve and Galleria Borghese all contend as well, with preference out of that three-pronged attack for the last-named, who won well from the front in Listed company last time.

Kilboy Estate Stakes Verdict

Paddy Twomey can gain a Group race double on the day, completed courtesy of RUMBLES OF THUNDER. The four-year-old is probably more reliable on this ground than Purplepay, with Aidan O’Brien’s Galleria Borghese also in with a shout.

15.55 Kilboy Estate Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies)
Result
4th 9/2