The Irish Champions Weekend continues at the Curragh on Sunday (September 13), and 11 useful fillies and mares are set to go to post for the Group 2 Blandford Stakes over 10 furlongs.
Trainer Dermot Weld has a terrific record in the race, having won the last four renewals. But his two representatives this year Amma Grace and Zawara both need to find significant improvement to win this year’s contest.
Aidan O’Brien has a, surprisingly, poor record in the race, having saddled just one of the 14 previous winners. His Elfin Queen looks another that’s outclassed, while Magic Wand has the class but hasn’t been at her best this season. She’d also prefer quicker ground.
Joseph O’Brien is another trainer with two runners, and both Bolleville and Thundering Nights. Both have winning form this season but need to take another step forward to if the market leaders run up to their best form.
Golden Wand is the only English runner, and two winners have hailed from across the Irish Sea. But her form is a bit below the best on offer and she seemed to relish 12-furlongs last time.
Lemista is bidding for a five-timer and, as she’s not won her previous four races by very far, she could have more improvement to come at her course where she won on her only previous visit.
Jessica Harrington saddles three fillies, but Celestial Object has lots to find on ratings. The step-up to 10-furlongs may suit but it wouldn’t surprise if this early-paced sort was being used as a pacemaker to ensure a strong gallop for her stable mates.
One Voice is the shortest priced of the Harrington runners in the early markets and it’s easy to see why on the form of her last two runs. Two starts ago, she ran on well at Goodwood to just be denied over 10-furlongs in a Group 1. She then followed that effort by finishing third behind Love in the Yorkshire Oaks. She faded late on there over 12-furlongs and a fast-run 10-furlongs should be ideal. But though William Buick is a decent jockey, it looks like Shane Foley has deserted her.
Foley rides Cayenne Pepper and she’s our Blandford Stakes tip. Cayenne Pepper had the best form of these as a 2-year-old and she looks to have been targeted at this after a five-week break. She’s another that looks sure to be suited by a quickly run 10-furlongs, and Foley’s presence suggests she’s been showing plenty at home.
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