Monsieur Joe The Hidden Gem In Sapphire Stakes

Saturday’s Group 2 Sapphire Stakes over 5f at the Curragh (5.15) offers punters the chance to “win it in a minute!”

Angel Needs Rain
Traditionally a fast and furious affair in which every beat counts, the Sapphire Stakes has again attracted a classy line-up, and one that could feature the British raider, Mecca’s Angel.

Michael Dods’ 4yo filly has won six of her last seven races – all over 5f – and recorded a career best in securing a Group 3 prize in France in May (good to soft), where Hot Streak was just under 3l behind. Ridden to go clear that day for a cosy 2l win, she will prove hard to beat if in the same mood, though she could do with some rain.

Medicean The Remedy?
The Brit challenge remains strong, with the 9yo veteran, Medicean Man, entered for this following a superb runner-up slot in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (5f, good to firm). Beaten just over 1l in this race two years ago, he has nothing to prove.

That prior experience of the Curragh is also a good asset in this race based on past trends…

Trends Summary
Of the last 10 Sapphire winners…

9 were Irish-bred
9 had run at the Curragh previously – others were 1-24
9 ran in Pattern class last time
9 were non-winners last time
8 were drawn in stalls 2-6
8 ran during the last 20 days
M Halford won it twice

Irish Challenge
With Michael Halford having won this race twice since 2005, his 7yo, Russian Soul, should not be overlooked. A dual Group 3 winner in her pomp, she returned to form in handicap company last week, which will have done Halford’s confidence a lot of good.

Joe Has The Form
It will be interesting to see if Aidan O’Brien lets his 4yo colt, Due Diligence, takes his chance following three unplaced efforts this season.

Although, punters looking at more solid form may opt for the 8yo, Monsieur Joe, who has been in the top three in four of his last five outings.

He finished like a rocket when second in Listed company at York only last week and enjoys a strong pace.

Also in the frame of late was David Brown’s 4yo filly, Wind Fire. A Listed winner last summer, she was beaten under 1l in a Group 2 at Haydock (5f, good) in May, and advertised her wellbeing an unlucky second in Group 3 company at Sandown last week (Stepper Point over 2l behind).

Recommended Bets
Mecca’s Angel is respected, but she won’t find the ground ideal if the sun continues shining. However, Monsieur Joe won’t mind fast ground, and has been a model of consistency this season, which could bring a reward if given a strong pace on Saturday.