MOONE Trainer, Jessica Harrington and Curragh based, Johnny Murtagh, will be hoping to fly the Lilywhite flag at the Longines Irish Champions Weekend at The Curragh on Sunday.
Moone trainer, Jessica Harrington. Photo: INPHO/Tommy Dickson
Harrington runs Barrington Court and and Barbados in the Comer Group International Irish St Ledger while Murtagh will be represented by his Ebor winner, Sonnyboyliston.
Twilight Payment will bid to add Classic glory to last season’s Melbourne Cup success. The remarkable eight-year-old is a six-time winner at the Curragh and spearheads a strong assault on the race for trainer Joseph O’Brien who also has Baron Samedi, winner of the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup Stakes in June and Master Of Reality among the 14 horses declared on Friday morning.
Search For A Song bids to become the first three-time winner since her trainer Dermot Weld’s Vinnie Roe recorded the third of his four wins in the race in 2003. Aidan O’Brien betters his son Joseph with four runners, Passion, Amhran Na Bhfiann, Carlisle Bay and King Of The Castle. The sponsors are represented by both Aircraft Carrier and Seattle Creek.
Thirteen horses have been declared for a terrific renewal of the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes, the first of the afternoon’s four Group 1 races. The field is headed by last year’s winner of the race, the Kevin Ryan-trained Glass Slippers and Tim Easterby’s Winter Power, successful in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at York. Archie Watson brings over his consistent performer Dragon Symbol, David Evans has Rohaan and Karl Burke runs Significantly. Top home contenders Mooneista, Gustavus Weston and Measure Of Magic, trained by Jack Davison, Joe Murphy and Johnny Murtagh respectively, have stood their ground too.
Topping the eight runners for the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes is Ger Lyons’s supplementary entry Cairde Go Deo and the Dermot Weld-trained Homeless Songs which is bidding to give the sponsors their first win in the race. Agartha is a leading fancy for Joseph O’Brien while the Gavin Cromwell-trained Sunset Shiraz is not without her chance.
Unbeaten colts Point Lonsdale, trained by Aidan O’Brien, and the Charlie Appleby-trained Native Trail head the seven runners in the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. The latter is out to give his trainer a third win in the race following on from Quorto and Pinatubo. The British challenge is further strengthened with Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes winner Ebro River representing Hugo Palmer and Great Max carrying the hopes of Michael Bell, while the Dermot Weld-trained Duke De Sessa, an impressive winner over eight furlongs here last month, is a most notable local hope.
The Group 2 Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford Stakes has a field of nine runners headed by the five-time Group 1 winner Love, La Petite Coco, Thundering Nights for trainers Aidan O’Brien, Paddy Twomey and Joseph O’Brien respectively with the Tom Dascombe-trained Delmona, George Boughey‘s Cashew and Johnny Murtagh’s Threebagsfull are among the 14 lining out for the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Stakes.
The Edward Lynam-trained recent course winner Jon Riggens looks a live contender for the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Bold Lad’ Sprint Handicap which has attracted 28 runners while at the opposite end of the card 26 runners and three reserves are declared for Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Northfields’ Handicap with Shane Donohoe’s Royal Pippen and the Ado McGuinness-trained Star Harbour among those chasing high-profile success.
Evan Arkwright, Chief Executive (interim) of the Curragh Racecourse, said: “We couldn’t be happier with the quality of runners and are delighted to see such a good spread of owners and trainers represented throughout the programme, including some notable British-trained runners. Everything is now set for what will be a great day and one not to missed by racing fans.”