Darwin Set To Turn Up The Heat At The Curragh
Saturday’s magnificent eight-race card at the Curragh includes the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes over 7f (4.40) – a race that regularly attracts a wealth of talent over this specialist trip.
This year looks no different either, with the likes of Aidan O’Brien’s 4yo, Darwin (officially rated the highest on 122), in sparkling form on his defence of this race…
…having won a Listed race over 6f at Leopardstown just six days ago. Last year’s win was achieved by almost 2l over the reliable, Gordon Lord Byron, and looks to have peaked for this race when winning last week, having flopped on his two previous outings this term.
But, in winning this race as a 3yo 12 months ago, he did so by becoming the third winner from the Classic generation during the last four years, which points up a number of exciting 3yo’s on Saturday. One of those is Prince Of All, who won a 7f Listed race (All-Weather) before finishing last of 7 in a Group 1 at Royal Ascot. This colt was only beaten 6l at Ascot, however, when keeping on, and may find this level more appropriate.
It will be interesting to see if O’Brien lets Peace Burg run following her 3l third in a Group 1 last week (1m, soft), though she hasn’t won for over a year.
Alkaaser (rated 104) will be looking to get back on track having won a Listed race over this C&D in May (good to firm), before flopping in a sprint handicap back here three weeks ago. His draw wasn’t kind that day, and he may well bounce back here.
With the last 10 winners having been seen during the last 30 days or less, David O’Meara’s Custom Cut (108) enters the reckoning having won a Listed event at Windsor 21 days ago (1m, good to soft). He has improved over the last 18 months, including a Group 3 win over this C&D and has been placed in three of his four visits to the Curragh.
Edward Lynam’s Viztoria (110) has some top-class form which include a 3l third to Slade Power at Ascot last October. Before being beaten 4l by the same horse on her return in May, and she could go well if progressing from that outing 56 days ago, while Big Time (110) looks to have gone backwards since an excellent juvenile campaign.
10 winners were 3-5yo’s – others 0-16; 5yo’s best at 4-12
10 ran in last 30 days or less – others 0-20
9 ran over 7f or further last time – those up in trip 1-20
9 five wins or less – others 1-17
5 won last time 5-10 (50%) – top six last time (23%), 7th or worse 1-24
All roads lead to last year’s winner, Darwin, who looks to have been teed-up once more by Aidan o’Brien having won a Listed race in style only last week.