Amethyst Stakes 2014 – Runners & Odds

Sunday sees a fantastic seven-race card from Leopardstown in clues aplenty will be in store for some of the upcoming Classics, while at 2.55 there is the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes for the older runners over 1m (2.55).

As you’d expect with such a classy event, the better horses came to the surface over the years, with those officially rated 108 or higher winning nine of the last 10 renewals. It’s a fact worth bearing in mind when assessing Sunday’s runners, and where Aidan O’Brien’s, Verrazano (117), is an interesting runner.

This 4yo makes his debut for O’Brien having plied his trade in America where he won two Grade 1’s last season over 1m1f on a fast surface, and was beaten 7l into fourth in the Breeder’s Cup over Sunday’s trip of 1m. He obviously has a bundle of class, but whether he is as good on turf remains to be seen, especially if the ground softens.

One who does enjoy the turf is Edward Lynam’s, Viztoria (111), a Group 2 winner at Doncaster in September (7f, good to soft) who signed off with a 3l third in a Group 2 at Ascot (6f, soft). Having weakened when tried at 1m at Royal Ascot, the worry on Sunday is the trip.

The trip won’t be a problem for Sabrina Harty’s, Ansgar (110), who improved at a lower level last term, including a valuable handicap win at the Curragh (1m, good to firm). This 6yo was beaten just 2l by Brendan Brackan (112) in a Group 3 back over the same C&D and has a 3lb pull if they both run on Sunday. The latter hasn’t shown much in Dubai the last twice, but could be rejuvenated by the return to these shores.

Having won this race twice since 2004, ,strong>John Oxx’s, Qewy (107), cannot be underestimated having shown improvement to win a Listed mile event over this C&D last month (heavy). If he gets his own way up front again, he could be difficult to pass.

Another trainer who knows what it takes to win this Group 3 event is Dermot Weld, whose 3yo, Mustajeeb (110), was beaten only 3l by War Command in a Group 2 at the Curragh when last seen in August (7f, good). The last 3yo to win this race was back in 2003, so Mustajeeb will need to have improved during the winter if troubling his elders.

When it comes to good recent form, however, then Sruthan (111) is at the top of the list having already bagged a Group 3 at the Curragh last month (7f, yielding), which followed another Group 3 success the time before. Paul Deegan thought there was more to come from this improving 4yo, whose consistency will attract each-way backers.

As for the British challenge, then the 8yo, Penitent, is a reliable yardstick at this level and was third in a Group 2 at Sandown last month (1m, soft). A dual Group 2 winner in 2012, he retains his form and will be danger to all if getting his favoured soft ground.

A strong renewal looks in store on Sunday, and one in which the improving, Sruthan, could land the hat-trick. Connections reported he wasn’t fully wound up when winning on his return last month, which suggests there could be more to come.