THE returning Luxembourg was the headline act on last Saturday’s card at the Curragh and, although many were left underwhelmed by the one-time Derby favourite’s comeback, the figures suggest it was a solid resumption to his career.
A juvenile Group 1 winner and Guineas third, much was expected of the son of Camelot and, although many onlookers felt his return to action in the Group 3 Fitzdares Royal Whip Stakes lacked some star quality, there was more encouragement in the performance than the bare result suggested.
A funereal early pace was never likely to reflect well on Luxembourg who was entitled to be ring rusty on his first outing since chasing home Godolphin duo Coroebus and Native Trail in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
Sent off at 2/9, Luxembourg was positioned behind a steady early gallop and rider Ryan Moore was smart enough to hold Insinuendo in a pocket when the modest pace began to quicken in the straight.
The manoeuvre arguably made the difference between victory and defeat, although Luxembourg found plenty late on when challenged by Willie McCreery’s mare, rallying gamely inside the final furlong.
A closing sectional of 35.1secs compared very favourably with the sprint races on the card, most notably five-furlong listed winner Mauiewowie who covered the same split in 34.4 in handing her Naas conqueror Lady Hollywood a tidy compliment when scoring narrowly at the weekend.
There was talk earlier in the season that Mauiewowie may well have the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in late September as an end of term target but trainer Ger Lyons appeared to be leaning towards a lighter season post-race on Saturday.
Given that his two-time winner is related to Something Enticing, a mile and 10-furlong winner for David Elsworth, and also counts the mile-two and mile-and-a-half Group 1 winner Ghaiyyath among her relatives, it is surprising she has managed to achieve so much over the minimum trip this summer.
As for Luxembourg, the Irish Champion Stakes and a trip to ParisLongchamp for the Arc remain firmly on the table, and it is worth noting that his preparation for Saturday’s Group 3 return was far from ideal given he was touch-and-go to line up due to a skin allergy condition.