Is Rosallion The Answer In The Guineas?

Rosallion | Scoop Dyga

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Logic dictates that the G1 2,000 Guineas is the standard when it comes to assessing the form of the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas, so in all likelihood the case for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's Newmarket runner-up Rosallion (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) is an open-and-shut one. The odds and all the noise from the Richard Hannon yard certainly suggest so, but this is The Curragh we are talking about and Saturday's Tattersalls-sponsored renewal will not be done and dusted until Sean Levey gets past seven peers and to the line.

Rosallion's credentials were strong even before he gave closest pursuit to Godolphin's electric Notable Speech (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) on the Rowley Mile, having swept to an impressive success in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day and he had all else including stablemate Haatem (Ire) (Phoenix Of Spain {Ire}) well beaten three weeks ago. What is still unproven is his ability to see out a stiff mile such as this, with his stamina possibly ebbing away on the uphill rise to the line in the Guineas, and the Ballydoyle trio and others will be sure to test that to the full.

Staying power at this trip is something that also has to be taken on trust when it comes to Ballydoyle's TDN Rising Star River Tiber (Ire) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), with the former a G2 Coventry S. winner untried beyond six furlongs. In the stable's Unquestionable (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), we have a colt with a GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf under his belt, but River Tiber is going into unknown territory here. While the style of his third placings in the G1 Prix Morny, when he was apparently not at a peak, and the G1 Middle Park S. gave the impression that he was looking for further than sprint trips at two his pedigree is far from convincing regarding a mile Classic.

Aidan O'Brien was far from certain on this score on Friday. “We think a mile is within his compass, not guaranteed,” he said. “We just thought we'd start there and if he didn't get it, he would go back for the Commonwealth Cup or something like that, he's not short of speed. Unquestionable might not be as forward as River Tiber, but the plan is to start him there with a view of going to Ascot after that. He had a little blip a couple of weeks ago, he's back in full swing again, but he did have it and because of that he might improve a little bit more from the Curragh than River Tiber.”

Quite what is in the locker of the outsiders Atlantic Coast (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), Bright Stripes (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) and Take Me To Church (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) remains to be seen, but it is always dangerous to write off something from the Joseph O'Brien stable and the former is a Group 3 winner despite the probable dubious nature of the Killavullan S. in which he mastered the recent Listed Tetrarch S. winner Bright Stripes.

 

Camille Pissarro To The Test In The Marble Hill

Before Ballydoyle's Wootton Bassett TDN Rising Stars take part in the main event, another in that category in his Camille Pissarro (Ire) represents the team in the G3 GAIN Marble Hill S. run in memory of Theresa Marnane. The half-brother to the G1 Commonwealth Cup hero Golden Horde (Ire) (Lethal Force {Ire}) took the same Navan maiden as River Tiber 12 months ago and Aesop's Fables (Ire) (No Nay Never) a year before that, which can be read as a definite message from Aidan O'Brien. He is joined by the stable's intriguing newcomer The Parthenon (Ire) (Kingman {GB}), a full-brother to Sunday's G1 Irish 1,000 Guineas contender Buttons (Ire) who descends from Urban Sea (Miswaki). As is often the case, the chief threat to Aidan is Joseph, who saddles Teme Valley Racing's five-furlong course debut winner Midnight Strike (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}).

Interestingly, Ryan Moore suggested in his betfair column that the debutante needs watching closely. “I was impressed by the way Camille Pissarro went through the line at Navan and he would have been the obvious one of ours in here after that performance,” he said. “But the Kingman colt The Parthenon deserves his place in the line-up in this Group 3 on his debut on his homework.”

 

Sprinters Warm Up For Royal Ascot

Also at The Curragh is the G2 Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands S., where King Power Racing's G1 British Champions Sprint S. hero Art Power (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) revisits his ongoing love affair with Irish tracks in opposition to last year's G1 Flying Five winner Moss Tucker (Ire) (Excelebration {Ire}). King Power's racing manager Alastair Donald said of the defending Greenlands title-holder, “We'd rather a little bit more rain had hit Ireland, but I think it will be lovely ground and on his 'home' patch, ironically, I think he'll be the one to fear. He has a three-pound penalty, but he seems to find three to five pounds whenever he runs in Ireland.”

Haydock's card boasts the G2 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Sandy Lane S. for the Royal meeting's Commonwealth Cup hopefuls and the G2 Temple S. for the G1 King's Stand S. protagonists. KHK Racing's unbeaten G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park S. hero Vandeek (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) is the star attraction on Merseyside, making his eagerly-anticipated comeback in the Sandy Lane. Ed Crisford is hoping that the testing conditions will not hamper Vandeek too much. “Obviously, starting him on this sort of ground isn't that ideal, but he needs to run,” he said. “We know he's won on soft ground before, so it's not too concerning, it's just that it's his first run of the year and they're always entitled to improve, but bar that he's in great order.”

“This has been the long-term plan and the only thing you can't control is the weather, so it is what it is,” he added. “All athletes will improve for that match practice and he's entitled to improve for sure, but we've done as much as we can at home to get him ready for his first run. Hopefully he's got a long year ahead of him, so we'll see how he gets on on Saturday and off we go for the season.”

In opposition to Vandeek is Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's exciting Inisherin (GB) (Shamardal), who travelled notably strongly in the G1 2,000 Guineas only to run out of steam on only his third career start. Trainer Kevin Ryan's son and assistant Adam said, “I thought he ran a huge race in the Guineas, travelled well throughout and showed quite a lot of speed, so we thought we'd drop him back in trip for this. Vandeek was a superstar last year and he's obviously the one to beat, but we're very happy with our fella and we'll find out a lot more about him on Saturday. You never know whether they'll handle soft ground until you try it, but if he does have a bit more stamina on his side, and obviously he's won over a mile, it could be a positive.”

Accomplished Australian sprinter Asfoora (Aus) (Flying Artie {Aus}), who was last seen finishing a close-up fourth in the G1 Galaxy in March, adds intrigue to the Temple along with last year's surprise G1 Nunthorpe S. hero Live In The Dream (Ire) (Prince Of Lir {Ire}). Also in the mix is Wathnan Racing's £1-million Goffs QIPCO Champions Day acquisition Rogue Lightning (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), who in sprinting terms is a budding youngster at four already with Group 1 form having been beaten just over a length when fifth in the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.

Trainer Adam West already has a trip back to the States in mind for Live In The Dream. “Touch wood, everything has been going really well, I'm very happy with him and he looks the most mature he's been, so we're hopeful for another big year,” he said. “We've trained him this year with the Breeders' Cup down the line in mind. He's the best I've ever seen him mentally and physically, but fitness-wise sprinters will normally need a run, especially at this top level.”

Asfoora's trainer Henry Dwyer said of the mare, who will come under close scrutiny with Ascot in mind, “We've given her a fair bit of breathing space since she's been here, we haven't really tightened the screws yet and I couldn't be any happier with how she looks, how she is and how her work's been. We're pretty adaptable, she's a good mare who has won races on pretty firm tracks but her best ground in my opinion is what we'd call a soft five or a soft six. She broke the track record at Sandown one day early on in her career on a soft six, which is pretty much unheard of. She's a sprinter that can sit on a really high cruising speed and she can either take a seat or she can lead, it doesn't really matter.”

Tom Clover added of Rogue Lightning, “Ideally, I'd love to be running him on good-to-firm ground because you can use the speed he has, he's a very fast horse, but at the same time I think he'll handle this ground and it shouldn't be a problem. He's done some lovely work at home and has just improved each week.”

 

More Clues In Sussex

Goodwood's Listed Height Of Fashion S. and Listed Cocked Hat S. used to be the final call for boarders for the flight to Epsom, but the old “Lupe” and “Predominate” are just too close to the mile-and-a-half Classics now. That said, they are now truer to being trials for Royal Ascot's G2 King Edward VII S. and G2 Ribblesdale S. Of the colts in the Cocked Hat, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum's Listed Lingfield Derby Trial third Meydaan (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) will at least provide some context to the Derby prospects of Ambiente Friendly (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) who beat him hollow by 7 3/4 lengths in that prep earlier this month. Where the Oaks is concerned, we will also learn a bit more about the chances of the G3 Musidora S. winner Secret Satire (GB) (Advertise {GB}) after the runner-up in that trial, Francophone (GB) (Study Of Man {Ire}), runs in the Height Of Fashion.

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