LOOKING at where you should start for today’s Ebor? Start with the Irish. Not because of any patriotic reason, because it’s statistically a good place to start.
When Mediterranean won the race for Aidan O’Brien and Mick Kinane in 2001, he became the first Irish-trained horse to win in 30 years. Since then, there have been six more Irish winners. That sounds pretty good but it’s much better when you context that there have only been 43 Irish runners in the next 20 renewals. That’s 43 runners out of a total 396. So from just under 11% of the total field, we’ve produced six more winners.
In fact, if you broaden it out, from that 43 winners we’ve had the six winners, but also four seconds, two thirds and four fourths. So back well, and back Irish.
Today we’ve got the biggest representation we’ve possibly ever had with six declared and unsurprisingly, four of them are among the first five in the betting. The market leader is Earl Of Tyrone for the all encompassing Paddy Twomey.
The Tipperary trainer is no secret any more. Fillies under his tutelage like La Petite Coco and Pearls Galore have ensured that but while it’s conceivable to make a claim that they are very good fillies that may well have prospered wherever they were housed, you can’t make that claim with Earl Of Tyrone.
Since joining Twomey, he’s gone from being rated 77 to 105, winning three times in all, and he now he’s favourite for a £500,000 race and one of the biggest handicaps in the world. So given the season Twomey has had, Earl Of Tyrone wouldn’t be a surprise winner, perhaps he’d be a fitting winner.
Given his prowess with stayers, surely it’s only a matter of time before Joseph O’Brien claims an Ebor. He’s got two today, Benaud and Okita Soushi, and both have big chances but the latter really catches the eye.
He ran a huge race when second to Irish St Leger contender Raise You in a listed contest at the Curragh and he was flying home from an impossible position to finish third in the Copper Horse Stakes at Royal Ascot. He hasn’t been missed by the market and looks a sure thing to run big today.
Ever Present and Licence are the other two the market like. The former looks to have been trained for this especially by Jessica Harrington, who would be adding just another major success to her already long lost of major successes. The latter is for Ger Lyons, and that’s interesting enough as it is.
Lyons won this with Mustajeer in 2019 before that horse was sold on to Australia for a Melbourne Cup bid. Licence has always threatened to be a smart horse and so it’s interesting that his trainer has earmarked this contest for him.
And don’t forget Shanroe for Dublin trainer Karl Thornton, because there is a chance a few could. He finished an excellent fourth last season and has been brought for another crack, setting himself up nicely with a win at Galway last time.
‘We’ll find out if he’s a Group 1 horse or not’
DONNACHA O’Brien is hoping to find out if he has another Group 1 horse on his hands in Proud And Regal who takes on today’s Group 2 Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes (3.10) at the Curragh.
The son of Galileo takes the well worn route from the Group 3 Tyros Stakes to this race and he displayed a very good attitude to make all and win at Leopardstown, of which the form has been boosted by the runner-up Hellsing winning at listed level since.
“He’s in good form and he’s come out of Leopardstown well,” O’Brien told The Irish Field. “He’s training well and we’re looking forward to the race.
“He’s got the strongest form in the race but dad has two very promising unexposed colts that I know he rates quite highly two it is by no means going to be an easy race but we’ll find out whether he’s going to be a proper Group 1 horse or not.”
The two promising colts Donnacha referred to are Aidan’s Aesop’s Fables, who Ryan Moore rides and course-and-distance maiden winner Hans Anderson.
O’Brien has won the Futurity 14 times, which is actually still two behind Vincent O’Brien. His record in the fillies’ equivalent race today, the Alpha Centauri Debutante Stakes, isn’t as strong at 12 wins but Meditate could well improve that today. The Albany winner steps up to seven furlongs for the first time in today’s contest.