Following the conclusions of Glorious Goodwood and the Galway festival, Horse Racing fans can take a breather this weekend with only one Group One race, the Phoenix Park Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday which is supported by the Group Two Debutante Stakes for fillies, both of which are contested by leading juveniles whose connections will all be hoping for performances that suggest they’ve got a potential superstar on their hands, something that both races have become known for down the years .
In England on Saturday, Haydock Park hosts the Group Three Rose of Lancaster Stakes while over on Newmarket’s July Course, there is the Group Three Sweet Solera Stakes for juvenile fillies.
At Haydock, Kieran Fallon has been booked by Sir Michael Stoute to ride the talented Class Is Class who finished fourth, only two lengths behind the winner, Twice Over, in the Group Two York Stakes a couple of weeks back. She finished second in this race last year behind the Clive Cox trained Poet who is also in opposition again this year. Both would have big chances to claim this race and both should be there or thereabouts at the finish but preference is given to Class Is Class based on her most recent form and is sure to be the pick of many newspapers Racing tips on Saturday.
In the Solera Stakes at Newmarket, the highly rated Jeremy Noseda trained Regal Realm looks to be the one to beat here, particularly after finishing second behind the unbeaten Barry Hills trained Angels Will Fall in the Group Three Juddmonte Stakes at Ascot over six furlongs last month. Regal Realm came with a strong challenge in that race and will be suited by the extra furlong on Saturday. There are several dangers including Kinetica from the stable of Sir Mark Prescott and from the well bred Discourse from Godolphin, winner of her maiden last time and who is amongst the favourites for the 2012 One thousand Guineas. She will have Frankie Dettori on board.
In the Royal Whip Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, the Aidan O’Brien trained Await The Dawn should have this race for the taking, despite strong looking opposition from a number of rival stables. Await The Dawn who won the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes last time in great style from Harris Tweed at Royal Ascot is very highly regarded by Ballydoyle who have a longer term Breeders Cup plan for her and it would be a real setback if she didn’t justify her favouritism in this race.
Against her could be Irish Oaks runner up, Banimpire, from the Jim Bolger yard who would be dropping down in class but who also won at Royal Ascot when she took the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes.
After his hugely successful Galway Festival Dermot Weld may be tempted to run Casual Conquest in the race who has been off course for almost two years with a tendon injury. This 6 year old was third in the Epsom Derby and second in the Irish Derby in 2008 but was good enough to win this race two years ago.
In the Debutante Stakes, the Aidan O’Brien trained Maybe is already a winner at Listed and Group Three level and could be the pick of what looks like shaping up to be a cracking but revealing race. The daughter of Galileo looked very impressive in both those wins and is now unbeaten after three starts and is the current antepost favourite for the 1000 Guineas in 2012.
Also being backed for the 1000 Guineas is the Kevin Prendergast trained La Collina who went down by a ¼ length to Maybe in the Group Three Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown last month. She will be trying to reverse that form on Sunday and according to the stable she has improved for that run.
It is almost impossible to oppose an Aidan O’Brien victory in the feature race at the Curragh on Sunday, the Group One, Phoenix Park Stakes, which he has made into the sole province of Ballydoyle after saddling 11 of the last 13 winners. This year on top of the Ballydoyle pecking order for the race is the unbeaten Power, winner last time of the Group Two Coventry Stakes by a neck from Roman Soldier at Royal Ascot in June. That win has currently earned him the joint favouritism for the 2012 Two Thousand Guineas. Power in fact is one of six Ballydoyle entries in the race one of which, Reply is a half brother to Power and who looked very impressive when he won his maiden on this course in May.
The last English success in the race came back in 1997, but this year there are three entries, two of which look to have genuine chances. Firstly there is the Richard Hannon trained Lilbourne Lad who was last seen winning over course and distance in June when he took the Group Two Railway Stakes. It was a very impressive run which saw him defeat several Ballydoyle hopefuls in the process and is thought very able by his trained to repeat the dose this Sunday.
The other major English raider is Frederick Engels from the relatively unknown yard of David Browne, who is also a Royal Ascot winner, having taken the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes in great style. He followed that up with victory in the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket where he had the much vaunted Roman Soldier comfortably beaten by a length. That win gives him every chance with Power based on form and reports suggest Frederick Engels is more than ready for the trip to Ireland.