O'Brien outlines Gleneagles plan
Clonroche man Aidan O'Brien has admitted missing three opportunities in the last month could have an adverse impact on star miler Gleneagles, but stressed the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 12 is very much the plan, although again with the proviso the ground is no slower than good.
The dual 2,000 Guineas winner, who worked after racing at the Curragh on Sunday, missed a showdown with Solow in the Sussex Stakes, then the Prix Jacques le Marois, and was a late absentee from the Juddmonte International last Wednesday, and O'Brien admitted that he doesn't know how all that uncertainty will affect him.
However, O'Brien is keen for Gleneagles to step up to ten furlongs for the first time in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, the race where Australia was agonisingly denied by The Grey Gatsby last year. Gleneagles is generally 3-1 for the Irish Champion Stakes with Golden Horn the 2-1 favourite and Free Eagle available at 5-2.
Oylegate's Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning landed the big one at the Curragh on Sunday when Herald The Dawn won the Group 2 Futurity Stakes in great style.
Although the ground was very much against him, the son of New Approach readily got the better of the front-running Now Or Never and connections have several options of where to go next.
Aidan O'Brien landed both Group 3 races on the card. The Seamie Heffernan-ridden Found won her first race of the season when taking the Royal Whip Stakes in tremendous fashion while equally impressive was Heffernan's second winner, Order Of St. George, the runaway winner of the Irish St. Leger Trial Stakes.
Bolger is also not ruling out taking on Gleneagles, Golden Horn, Free Eagle, Cirrus Des Aigles and last year's winner The Grey Gatsby in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes with his Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas and Darley Yorkshire Oaks winner Pleascach.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Ballydoyle ran out the easy winner of the Group 2 Debutante Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday under Joseph O'Brien, and the Moyglare Stud Stakes on Longines Irish Champions Weekend could be a target for the winner.
Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning were on the mark with the impressive-looking Smash Williams in the six furlongs maiden. The Bolger-trained Algonquin stretched his unbeaten run to four wins when taking the Listed Vincent O'Brien Ruby Stakes at Killarney on Wednesday.
Finally, there is another day of racing action at Bettyville on Saturday with the first race off at 2.25 p.m.
Course manager Michael Murphy is looking forward to a day of high drama on the track, as has been the case at each of this year's meetings in Wexford. There will also be lots of entertainment for the children, making it an ideal family day out.
Racing takes place at the following Irish racetracks in the coming week: Ballinrobe, Tuesday, August 25 (first race 4.25 p.m.); Bellewstown, Wednesday, August 26 (first race 4.05 p.m.); Bellewstown, Thursday, August 27 (first race 4.15 p.m.); Tipperary, Thursday, August 27 (first race 4.35 p.m.); Down Royal, Friday, August 28 (first race 4.20 p.m.); Wexford, Saturday, August 29 (first race 2.25 p.m.); Cork, Sunday, August 30 (first race 2.25 p.m.), and Curragh, Sunday, August 30 (first race 2.05 p.m.).