Sunday’s Curragh meeting produced plenty of talking points to whet the appetite for discussion during the long Winter nights ahead.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Geoffrey Chaucer was an odds-on chance in the Group Two Beresford Stakes but posed as many questions as he answered.
Only five went to post and rider Joseph O’Brien settled Geoffrey Chaucer in fourth place as All Set To Go made the running at a nice clip. The rider made his move inside the two furlong marker where he sent the son of Montjeu in to the lead. In spite of edging left the combination hit the wire a length and a quarter to the good from stable companion Oklahoma City.
While it was a display that did not satisfy all the purists it was nonetheless workmanlike. We will have another chance to assess the colt, who was an impressive winner on his debut at Leopardstown, when he lines up for the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.
Unlike many of the progeny of his sire the winner seems to have a nice temperament and has plenty of stamina in his pedigree. Although the Ballydoyle maestro has farmed this race over the years many of his winners have not featured in the Epsom Derby so it will be interesting to see how Geoffrey Chaucer shapes up next term.
The War Front colt Guerre was expected to consolidate his position as one of the leading juveniles of the season Listed Blenhelm Stakes over six furlongs after his impressive winning debut but he caught a real tarter in the shape of the Chris Hayes-ridden Shining Emerald.
An easy winner of a maiden at Listowel Shining Emerald did not go unsupported and the confidence was justified as he came with a sustained challenge from the two furlong post to reel in Guerre and win going away by three lengths.
Make no mistake but this was a display full of quality. Shining Emerald came up the centre of the track while Guerre had the benefit of the running rail. Winning handler Paul Deegan told me that his charge has been working like a real good horse at home. He is very straightforward and will now have the Kilavullan Stakes at Leopardstown as his next target.
Curraghbeg trainer John Oxx was dealt a cruel blow when it was announced that his main patron, the Aga Khan, will be including Dermot Weld among his trainers next season and reducing the number of horses going to Oxx.
However, in the very best traditions Oxx bounced back by taking the Group Three CL Weld Park Stakes courtesy of My Titania, which was giving her sire Sea The Stars his first Group winner.
An impressive winner of a Leopardstown maiden, My Titania was sent to post a short-priced favourite but there was plenty of confidence behind the Weld filly Tarfasha. Travelling well, My Titania took up the running entering the last furlong but in the end she had to be well stoked up to beat Chicago Girl.
Speaking after the race Oxx said the winner is typical of her sire in that she idles in front. She has both speed and stamina and the plan is to prepare her for a tilt at the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks.
Racing got underway with a useful looking success for Tested in the seven furlong maiden for two-year-old fillies. Easy enough to back, the daughter of Selkirk was settled behind the leaders. She improved to throw down her challenge a furlong or so out and from there pulled clear to take the money by a length and three-parts from Sparrow.
In his post-race remarks winning trainer Dermot Weld announced that Tested is potentially a Stakes filly for next season. With that in mind she will now be put into Winter quarters.
Fresh from his victory aboard Educate in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on Saturday Johnnie Murtagh was seen to good effect when getting Campanology, which he also trains, home in the mile 71-98 handicap.
Starting favourite, the Royal Applause gelding came from well off the pace to lead almost in the shadow of the post and beat the Jim Bolger representative Paene Magnus by half a length.
Eye of The Storm could have a Cup career ahead of him after he defeated Missunited in the Listed Loughbrown Stakes over a two mile trip.
Trying the distance for the first time, Eye of The Storm was given plenty of time to find his feet. He came with a wet sail in the straight and, after a great struggle, got the better of Missunited by three-parts of a length.