Defining Moment

High Definition (Ire) |

How High Definition (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) would have fared at Epsom will forever be the stuff of conjecture, but Saturday sees Ballydoyle's TDN Rising Star return to his safe hunting ground of The Curragh to prove his worth in the G1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Renowned for his trademark late flourish at two, he swooped from rear to collar Wordsworth (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) on debut over a mile here in August before repeating the trick in the G2 Beresford S. the following month. If his comeback effort when third in the G2 Dante S. over an extended 10 furlongs at York May 13 is taken at face value, he will need to find extra to ward off the kind of strong challenge that has been lacking in this Classic in recent times. “I think he's versatile ground-wise, but we think the better the ground, the better it will suit him,” commented Aidan O'Brien, who has won this a staggering 14 times since 1997.

Since 2006, Ballydoyle have been denied on only four occasions, with the biggest gap between victories coming from 2014 to 2017 while the operation have also enjoyed an amazing seven clean sweeps of the first three places including in the last two renewals. It falls on Van Gogh (American Pharoah) and the aforementioned Wordsworth to attempt a repeat this time, with the two outsiders Arturo Toscanini (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Matchless (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) thrown in for good measure. Van Gogh was third behind Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) in the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas here May 22 before finishing 10th under Colin Keane in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly June 6, while Wordsworth is backed up 10 days after his second in the G2 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.

“It's Van Gogh's first time over a mile and a half. We were happy with his run in France–he didn't have a good draw, but we thought he ran very well,” O'Brien added. “Wordsworth is in good form. He only ran in Ascot last week, but he seems to have come out of the race well. We always thought he would stay well. It was the first time he ran over that distance in Ascot and obviously his brother [Kew Gardens] stayed very well.”

Unusually, none of the Ballydoyle representatives were in action at Epsom, with Bolshoi Ballet (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) tasked to go it alone. In the June 5 Derby, Amo Racing's Mojo Star (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) was clear of Godolphin's Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and Mac Swiney, but Hurricane Lane holds High Definition on the form of his Dante success and he lost both front shoes at Epsom. Since 2000, there have been 15 winners of this that came from the Derby and Charlie Appleby is hoping that Hurricane Lane can continue to build on his early promise. “We were pleased with Hurricane Lane's effort at Epsom Downs and he has more experience under his belt going into this,” he said. “He was an inexperienced horse going into the Derby and it may have found him out slightly, but he has definitely sharpened up for the run. The style of the track at the Curragh should suit him better and, if he can repeat his Derby effort, it will certainly make him very competitive.”

Jim Bolger feels that Mac Swiney has more to offer than he did in the Derby and said, “I don't believe we saw the best of him at Epsom.  It was just one of those runs, that I don't think on the day he was on top of his game so I'm hopeful he can reverse the placings with the ones that finished in front of him. It won't be easily-won, but we feel we have a fighter on our hands and hopefully he'll be 100 per-cent on Saturday. If he is, I don't expect him to be too far away.”

Since 1994, there has been only one British-trained winner in Jack Hobbs (GB) (Halling) which does not bode well for Ballylinch Stud and Aquis Farm's Lone Eagle (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), but the Martyn Meade representative is more than worthy of his place in this line-up. Fourth when considered under-par in the notorious Apr. 23 G3 Sandown Classic Trial, he went on to give that race's runner-up Yibir (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) five pounds and a four-length beating in Goodwood's Listed Cocked Hat S. over an extended 11 furlongs May 21. Denied his opportunity at Epsom due to a dirty scope, he is a fascinating contender here. “We couldn't be happier with him,” Meade said. “It's not easy with all the travelling and everything, but he's going in as a fresh horse, having missed Epsom and we've got a good man on his back to run against the Irish. What will be will be, but it would be nice to think if he runs up to his best he should have a really good chance.”

Elsewhere on the card, the G2 GAIN Railway S. sees Craig Bernick and Antony Beck's Castle Star (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) bid to confirm the form of his ready defeat of Masseto (GB) (Territories {Ire}) in the course-and-distance G3 Marble Hill S. May 22. The runner-up has since franked the form by finishing 1 3/4-lengths fourth in the G2 Coventry S. at Royal Ascot last Tuesday, where the re-opposing The Acropolis (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) was ninth. Castle Star's trainer Fozzy Stack said, “It looks a strong renewal, but he's got a nice draw and he seems in good order, so we're hopeful of a good run. The ground won't be as soft as it was in the Marble Hill, but I don't see that being a problem for him.”

Aidan O'Brien, who has saddled 13 winners of this, needs one more to equal the record of Dr Vincent O'Brien and along with The Acropolis also has a key contender in Cadamosto (Ire) (No Nay Never). He was fourth in last Thursday's G2 Norfolk S. at Royal Ascot and is the pick of Ryan Moore. “The Ascot run was Cadamosto's first for a good while and he seems to have taken it well,” the trainer said. “The Acropolis ran well at Ascot. He just got a little bit hampered about a furlong and a half down, but he ran well.” Moore added, “He has plenty of pace, but the step up to six furlongs should be fine here given the way he finished off his race at Ascot. The Acropolis's run in the Coventry can also be marked up given he was not ideally drawn there and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he were to run very well.”

David Loughnane pitches the Norfolk runner-up Go Bears Go (Ire) (Kodi Bear {Ire}) back into action and he said, “He came out of Ascot really well, so we said we'd take a crack at it. If he turns up in the same form as he went to Ascot, I think he'll put up a big show. I still very much believe he's the best we've trained and I think we've plenty to look forward to with him.” Given the strength in depth of this edition, Peter Brant's TDN Rising Star Dr Zempf (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}) will have to be every bit as good as looked on his winning debut over this track and trip June 2. The form of that contest has subsequently been boosted and jockey Colin Keane is expecting a bold show. “He looked nice on his first start–he was a good winner I thought on the day,” he said. “He seems to be training well for the race. It looks a very good renewal, but hopefully he can give a good account of himself. Siskin had won his maiden and the Marble Hill en route to the Railway, whereas this horse has only had the one run. We'll know where we stand after Saturday, I think.”

In the G3 ARM Holding International S., Jessie Harrington relaunches Cadillac (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) after his lengthy absence. Fourth in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland in November, Alpha Racing's G2 Champions Juvenile S. winner is upped in trip to 10 furlongs to meets two smart older fillies and mares in Newtown Anner Stud Farm's June 9 G3 Munster Oaks winner Thunder Kiss (Ire) (Night of Thunder {Ire}) and the May 23 G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup third True Self (Ire) (Oscar {Ire}).

There is also group action on Newcastle's Northumberland Plate card, with Friday's G1 Commonwealth Cup withdrawal Diligent Harry (GB) (Due Diligence) taking on his elders in the six-furlong G3 William Hill Chipchase S. on the Tapeta. Runner-up to the subsequent G3 Pavilion S., G2 Sandy Lane S. and Wokingham H. winner Rohaan (Ire) (Mayson {GB}) at Lingfield Mar. 10, the 3-year-old went on to capture the Apr. 2 3-Year-Old All-Weather Championships Conditions S. there and trainer Clive Cox believes he has what it takes to take a hand in competitive sprints like this. “Conditions didn't allow us to run at Ascot and that was it,” he said. “He's in good form. He's proven on the all-weather and it's a good step to take at this point.”

Diligent Harry meets two smart Shadwell performers in last year's G3 Hackwood S. winner Tabdeed (GB) (Havana Gold {Ire}) and Khuzaam (Kitten's Joy), who impressed when winning the Apr. 2 All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions S. at Lingfield before finishing last of four in the Apr. 23 G3 Sandown Mile. The latter's trainer Roger Varian is dropping him back in trip and said, “He has loads of pace. He won over seven furlongs at Chelmsford before stepping up to the mile at Lingfield. His work is as good as ever and a stiff six furlongs at Newcastle on the Tapeta should suit him. It's an experiment, but it's an interesting one.”

Newmarket's July Course is in full swing again and Saturday's action sees the 2019 G1 St Leger hero Logician (GB) (Frankel {GB}) bid to get back to winning ways in the Listed Fred Archer S. Frankie is in action at The Curragh, so Rab Havlin takes the mount on the 5-year-old and he said, “It is great to get back on him and he is a nice horse to pick up. I rode him on Wednesday and he felt in great shape and has come on since the last day. He is a big horse that is hard to get fit and the whole way through it has always taken a run to get him right. He seems to have come out of his race the right way. It is well-documented that he nearly died. The fact they managed to get him back and keep him alive is a massive achievement, let alone to get him back racing. If there was any time that he didn't want to race again, we wouldn't have risked it but he is showing great enthusiasm for the game again and let's hope it continues. There are a few horses in there that are decent on their day but he is clear on ratings and we are hoping for a big run.”

In the seven-furlong G3 Criterion S., TDN Rising Star Kinross (GB) (Kingman {GB}) looks to defy a three-pound penalty for his success in the G3 John of Gaunt S. at Haydock May 29 and trainer Ralph Beckett is hoping he has finally got the talented 4-year-old on track. “Kinross is in great shape. It is a race that he has got a penalty in, but it is a race that really suits him,” he commented. “I've been very happy with him since Haydock, where he looked back to his old self. He did it really well the last day and we will be sticking to seven furlongs with him. I think gelding him has been a significant help. Hopefully this is a stepping stone to bigger and better things.” Charlie Appleby saddles the similarly smart Royal Crusade (GB) (Shamardal), who beat Glen Shiel (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) in the six-furlong G3 Prix de Ris-Orangis at Deauville last July and was last seen finishing seventh in the Mar. 27 G1 Al Quoz Sprint. “Royal Crusade was a little disappointing in Dubai, but has definitely been training better since coming back to Newmarket,” he said. “It's his first time over this distance since his two-year-old days but, if you look at the pick of his form, he should be bang there. We hoped that he would be a real out-and-out sprinter, but he doesn't seem to have that natural dash about him and looks like a seven-furlong horse these days.”

In the Listed Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress Fillies' S., Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah's impressive June 15 Thirsk novice scorer Najat (GB) (Ardad {Ire}) takes on the likes of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's TDN Rising Star Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}).  Fifth and not disgraced in Friday's G3 Albany S. at Royal Ascot, the latter is back over the six-furlong trip of her impressive winning debut on the Rowley Mile course May 15 and trainer George Boughey said, “It is a quick turnaround from Royal Ascot, but she has come out of that race in great shape. I walked the track on Thursday and it is far quicker than at Ascot where it was an extreme of ground. It probably found her out and it was only her ability that got her home. She has got a great attitude and she showed that on debut when quickening away well on better ground on the Rowley Mile and the ground is closer to that here. She will improve when she goes up to seven, but hopefully she can get some black-type here.”

Ed Crisford said of Najat, “She won very well first time up at Thirsk and she is deserving of her place in a stakes race and this looked a suitable option. She was breezing nicely before her debut, but I like the way she put the race to bed quickly at Thirsk. The way she won, there could be a lot of upsides to her.”

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