Big chance for Thundering despite Group 1 penalty
Curragh 14:20 - Thundering Nights and Lovely Esteem
Thundering Nights has already achieved more than we had dreamed she would this season by winning a Group 1, so we are very much in bonus territory with her now. She has to carry a penalty for that victory in the Pretty Polly Stakes, but her form entitles her to a strong chance despite that. This course and distance suits her well and we feel she is capable of running a big race.
It was brilliant to nab some Group 2 black type with Lovely Esteem earlier this season and she certainly shaped a fair bit better than the result on her latest start in the Snow Fairy Fillies Stakes at the Curragh. She didn't get anything like a clear run that day and will be better suited by this slightly longer trip. She is probably running for a place at the very best, but a good run wouldn't surprise.
In great form and we're excited to see her run
Curragh 15:30 - Agartha
Agartha took her time to get off the mark, but has really started to roll in recent starts, winning the Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown and the Debutante Stakes at the Curragh in great style. Making the running seems to suit her really well and she has an excellent attitude to both training and racing. While there are some very promising young fillies in against her, she is without doubt the one that sets the bar for the rest of them to come to. She has been in great form since her last run and we are hopeful that she can produce a career-best effort in this. We are really excited to see what she can do.
Outsider might outrun his odds
Curragh 16:05 - Ultramarine
Ultramarine is still a maiden after six starts, but he has acquitted himself well in smart company on his last two starts, so we felt it was worth letting him take his chance here. The return to seven furlongs will suit and while he is likely to be a very big price, he might run a bit better than most will expect.
Trio of stable stars who all have their chance
Curragh 16:40 - Twilight Payment, Baron Samedi and Master Of Reality
Twilight Payment has been a legend for us, winning four Group races including the Melbourne Cup. It was great to see him come back to close to his best to win the Irish St Leger Trial over this course and distance last time and he is in great shape for what will be his fifth run in this race. He hasn't shown his very best in it before, but hopefully it will be a case of fifth-time lucky and he'll run a big race.
Baron Samedi has been another real star for us, winning seven of his last eight races including a Group 2 at Longchamp and a Grade 2 at Belmont. He came up a bit short in Group 1 company over a mile-and-a-half in the Grand Prix de Paris last time, but returning to this longer trip should be a big help to him. This race has been his target since his last run and we are hopeful that he'll run very well.
Master Of Reality has been another great horse for the yard. His most notable effort came when he went very close to winning the Melbourne Cup in 2019. It was great to see him bounce back to winning ways at Down Royal on his latest start and his best form entitles him to a solid chance.
Tough task but it's a huge pot to go for
Curragh 17:15 - Cynisca and Bienvenue
Cynisca shaped with promise on her debut at Gowran Park, but was a bit disappointing on her second start at Naas in a race that didn't really fall right for her. This is obviously a tough ask, but it's a huge pot and there is prize money down to 10th, so we felt it was worth a hot.
Bienvenue is a nice filly that has shown ability at home. This is a big ask for her on her debut, but she'll probably only get one chance to run for this sort of money in her career, so we'll see how she gets on.
Four chances in a wide open handicap
Curragh 17:45 - Band Of Outlaws, Prairie Dancer, Max Mayhem and Vultan
Band Of Outlaws will always be a bit of a hero here, as he gave us our first Cheltenham Festival win in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in 2019. He hasn't had a clear run of it since with injuries, but he did shape with promise on his return to action on the Flat prior to disappointing over hurdles at Tipperary and being a late non-runner in the Galway Hurdle. He is fairly handicapped on the best of his form and I wouldn't like to rule him out.
Prairie Dancer has progressed well this season and just raced a bit too freely for his own good last time. A race like this might well suit him and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
Max Mayhem has progressed steadily this season and was a bit unlucky not to win on his latest start at Naas as he got very lonely in front and got nailed close home by Collins Street. This will be his first run in a handicap, but he has the ability to compete off his mark if he puts it all together.
Vultan has progressed well this season, but he occasionally takes exception to the starting stalls which has led to him being withdrawn a couple of times. We feel this mile-and-a-quarter trip could well suit him a little bit better than further, so we are just hoping he goes in and comes out of the stalls in good order and we get to see what he can do over this trip.