IT was magnificent to see the effervescent Clive Brittain dancing a victory jig in the Curragh winner’s enclosure after he had saddled Rizeena to win Sunday’s Moyglare Stud Stakes from the well-backed Tapestry.
I will be more than happy to even be alive when I’m rising 80 let alone strutting my stuff on Ireland’s principal Flat course and the Newmarket trainer has proved yet again that given the right ammunition, he is more than capable of producing the goods.
We cut the winner to 10-1 (from 20) for next year’s English 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and having also landed the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot by two lengths, over five furlongs showing that she possesses plenty of speed, she must have every chance of giving Brittain a third Guineas winner following on from Pebbles in 1984 and Sayyedati (1993).
This Saturday the Irish Champion Stakes takes pride of place at Leopardstown and while at this stage it is difficult to know exactly whose going to turn up, with Aidan O’Brien intending to leave five in at the declaration stage, he did mention Kingsbarns “is pleasing us” so I will go for him.
While Snow Fairy and So You Think have done the older generation proud in this contest in the last two runnings, three-year-olds have held the upper hand in recent seasons.
I suppose the one downside to the selection is that his unbeaten record in two starts as a juvenile was created on soft ground, but as plenty of horsemen including Brittain have said in the past, a good horse goes on anything and who’s to say that he won’t act on a faster surface as he has yet to try.
The course was due to start watering on Monday and as there is usually a lovely covering of grass at the Dublin track, I very much hope to see him among the starters. He looked a lovely prospect when winning a top-class race at Doncaster last October and it’s a shame we’ve had to wait this long to see him again.
I’m also going to go for an Aidan O’Brien-trained horse in Say for Saturday’s supporting Matron Stakes although I suppose it is run less than a week after she landed the Dance Design Stakes at the Curragh so her participation will rest on how she comes out of that race.
I was impressed by this win and she looked like a filly much more at home over a distance of around a mile than when she last ran over a mile and a half at York, where, to be fair, she still managed to finish runner-up to Our Obsession.
Her most recent win was her best at Group 3 level so this is quite a step up, but the form of her second in the Kilboy Estates Stakes to Dank, who at time of writing is also still entered and would be a major danger to my fancy if she were to turn up, is looking good now after that rival went on to claim the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes at Arlington last month.
I always love Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza as it is the fastest circuit of the season and drivers’ concentration has to be even greater than usual with the slightest error meaning disappointment. Kimi Raikkonen has never landed this event but he has gone close on a couple of occasions and I think he’s a bit of value each-way at 10-1.
The Finn drove well on his penultimate start when Lewis Hamilton was too good in Hungary and my selection also landed the opening race of the campaign.
Saturday - Leopardstown 5.45pm - Say; Saturday - Leopardstown 6.50pm - Kingsbarns; Sunday - Monza, Italy 1pm - Kimi Raikkonen each-way