Friday, 26th Jun 2020
There are two Group 3 races on the supporting card during Irish Derby day at the Curragh on Saturday, and Buckhurst appeals for the 1m 2f Alleged Stakes (16:45).
One of three in the race for trainer Joseph O’Brien and two owned by Lloyd Williams, this four-year-old is the only course and distance winner in the line-up.
Buckhurst has two victories in the grade and they both came here last summer. After asserting close home to win the International Stakes, he followed-up in the Royal Whip when holding Leo De Fury by a head.
As Buckhurst gave the runner-up, a winner in Group 2 company this season, 3lb here, this was a fine effort. The four-year-old Australia colt finds this trip optimum.
When stepped up to 1m 4f during Irish Champions Weekend, he chased home Norway. Buckhurst was also an unlucky loser on reappearance under a 5lb penalty in a Listed race at Navan.
Dropping back to a mile wasn’t ideal for him, but he only went down by a nose to Ancient Spirit on the line. Now back up to 10 furlongs, he should resume winning ways.
Buckhurst is preferred to owner-stable companion Latrobe whose best form is over further. The pair meet off level weights, with the former retaining more scope.
Ratings topper Sir Dragonet couldn’t win in Listed company last time out, but soft ground won’t be a problem if the forecast rain comes.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien, this four-year-old Camelot colt looked a potential superstar when bolting up by eight lengths in the Group 3 Chester Vase last season. However, Sir Dragonet hasn’t got his head in front since.
Although only beaten three-quarters of a length in the Epsom Derby, he lost three places close home. Sir Dragonet was also three lengths behind Buckhurst in fourth in the Royal Whip.
The pair re-oppose off 3lb better terms for him in the Alleged Stakes. On a strict form line between them, it gives Sir Dragonet every chance of turning the tables.
Since his St Leger fourth where failing to see it out, he has been a beaten favourite on both his starts this season. Sir Dragonet looks a horse without a trip, but does meet Navan conqueror Numerian 5lb better off at the weights.
On that basis, he has to be the main danger to Buckhurst. Sir Dragonet has been a costly horse for punters to back, however, and can be opposed.
O’Brien junior has leading claims of a Group 3 double on this card with last year’s Vintage Crop Stakes winner Master Of Reality back to defend his crown.
This 1m 6f contest is usually run at Navan, but has been added to Irish derby day as a trial for next month’s Curragh Cup.
Master Of Reality ran a string of fine races in defeat since his neck victory over subsequent Ebor Handicap hero Mustajeer in the Vintage Crop Stakes.
Race terms were against the five-year-old when dropping back into Listed company for the Saval Beg at Leopardstown, but he ran a massive race at odds of 66/1 in the 2019 Ascot Gold Cup.
Master Of Reality was only beaten a length into third by Stradivarius. The way in which the winner routed the Gold Cup field at Royal Ascot when winning this year’s renewal shows that effort in a very positive light.
As Master Of Reality was then a fine third under top-weight in the Irish St Leger trial, he went back up to Group 1 level. In the Irish Leger itself, he tried to give 13lb to Search For A Song and finished fifth.
He again gave weight away when beaten just a head in the Melbourne Cup in Australia. Master Of Reality lost second place in the stewards’ room and was demoted to fourth.
The Vintage Crop Stakes sees all eight horses in this renewal racing off level weights. As Master Of Reality is joint top on official ratings and, with his stamina proven, he should win this again.
Last year’s Irish Derby hero Sovereign tries the trip for the first time here. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, he hasn’t been seen since that Classic triumph 12 months ago.
Sovereign looked to all intents and purposes to be a pacemaker in the Irish Derby. Padraig Beggy had other ideas, however, and made all setting his own fractions.
The field couldn’t get back at Soverign as he ran out an easy six-length winner. To see a Classic contest unfold like this was farcical.
Sovereign, a four-year-old Galileo colt, may stay the extra quarter-mile of the Vintage Crop Stakes. His sire is a strong stamina influence in Flat thoroughbreds, but he has never won on reappearance.
Value in the betting with bookmakers lies elsewhere, then. Saval Beg second Twilight Payment retains plenty of ability aged seven, so could be the biggest danger to Master Of Reality.
Also trained by Joseph O’Brien for Williams, the owner bought him from Jim Bolger’s yard after landing the Curragh Cup last year.
Twilight Payment hasn’t won in four subsequent starts but seems to get the better of Dermot Weld’s Falcon Eight. Despite the unexposed Sovereign being an intriguing runner here, a Williams forecast is another bet to consider.