Many people have asked has Aidan O’Brien has got a magic wand, and the answer is finally yes as he looks sure to try and win the 2018 Irish Oaks on Saturday with his three-year-old filly Magic Wand. An impressive winner at Royal Ascot, she could be taken on by the dual French Group 1 winner Laurens and the William Haggas trained Sea Of Class.
Meanwhile, there’s decent action from Leopardstown on Thursday, Hamilton and Newbury on Friday, and Market Rasen and Newbury on Saturday.
Leopardstown Thursday 19 July
The Meld Stakes
The Meld Stakes is a Group 3 Race that was first run at Leopardstown in 2010, when it replaced a race called the Brownstown Stakes. It is run over 9 furlongs and is open to horses aged three or older.
Irish trainer Jim Bolger and Dermot Weld both have tremendous records in the race. Bolger has won three of the last four renewals with Moonlight Magic, Carla Bianca, and Parish Hall. Meanwhile, Weld sired Famous Name to a hat-trick in the race between 2010 and 2012. The other winner was the English trained Decorated Knight.
England has two possible entries in Arod and Lord Glitters, though both have been in action recently.
Meanwhile, Jim Bolger has four possible entries, whilst Aidan O’Brien has nine, with Deauville the highest-rated of his possible runners. However, it could be significant that Dermot Weld has just the one entry in Hazapour. The three-year-old looked good when winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on his seasonal debut and he could be suited by this drop-in trip after looking a non-stayer in the Derby last time out.
Newbury Friday 20 July
Rose Bowl Stakes
The Rose Bowl Stakes is a Listed Race for two-year-olds run over 6 furlongs and 8 yards at Newbury. It was first run in 1988 and was a race that trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam had a great affinity with in its early years, winning it six-times between 1991 and 1997. His most famous winner was Rodrigo De Triano who went on to be a multiple group race winning performer. More recently the race has been used as a stepping stone by high-class sprinters Limato and Tasleet.
Another trainer that has won this race four times is Mick Channon and he has three possible entries. Meanwhile, the Hannon Stable has won the race five-times and also has three possible entries. The highest-rated horse in the field is Sabre, but that horse would be giving Richard Fahey his first win in the race. However, that would make him the ninth different trainer to win the race in the last nine years.
Hamilton Friday 20 July
The Glasgow Stakes started life at York in 1976 but was transferred to Hamilton in 2006. It is a Listed Race run over 1 mile 3 furlongs and 14 yards and is open to three-year-olds. Mark Johnston has trained five of the last 12 winners, whilst Richard Fahey and Richard have also both trained a winner.
The most famous winner of the race since its move to Hamilton was Postponed in 2014, whilst his owner also owned the 2017 winner Defoe.
Mark Johnston looks likely to make a bold bid for a sixth winner of the race as he has a choice of six possible entries. However, Richard Hannon trains the highest-rated entry in Raymond Tusk, who is owned by the same connections as his 2016 winner Ventura Storm.
Market Rasen Saturday 21 July
Summer Handicap Hurdle
The Summer Handicap Hurdle was first run in 1995 and was upgraded to a Listed Hurdle in 2008. It is run over 2 miles and 110 yards and is open to horses aged three and older. It’s most famous winner is Puntal, who was one of three winners for the now retired Martin Pipe, whilst the two most recent winners have been Red Tornado trained by Dan Skelton and John Constable trained by Evan Williams.
Dan Skelton has been in terrific form in the early part of the 2018/19 National Hunt Season and has three interesting entries in Fair Mountain, Mister Universum, and Parthenius, with the first two both winners last time out. Meanwhile, Evan Williams may call upon the old boy Court Minstrel and Voodoo Doll, with the latter having completed a hat-trick last week.
Summer Plate Handicap Chase
The Summer Plate Handicap is a Listed Chase that takes place over 2 miles 5 furlongs and 89 yards and it is open to horses aged four and older. Snoopy Loopy, who also won a Betfair Chase, is the most famous winner of the race. He’s also one of four winners for Welsh trainer Peter Bowen, who has three possible candidates for the 2018 renewal.
However, he could face some stern opposition with trainers like Paul Nicholls, Nigel Twiston-Davis, Nicky Henderson, Rebecca Curtis, and Neil Mulholland also having entries. Last year’s winning trainer Dan Skelton may also be represented by Too Many Diamonds who will need to complete a four-timer to take home the first prize of £28,475.
Newbury Saturday 21 July
The Bet365 Stakes is a Listed Race that is run over 10 furlongs and is open to horses aged three and older. It was formerly known as the Steventon Stakes and was first run in 1988. Its most famous winner was the 2001 winner Sakhee who had finished second in the Derby a year earlier. Saeed Bin Suroor has the best recent record of any trainer, with two wins in the last nine years, and he could saddle Emirates Flyer and Silver Line. Meanwhile, Godolphin’s other UK based trainer Charlie Appleby could saddle the high-class Emotionless. Autocratic, Desert Encounter, First Sitting, and Spark Plug could make this a competitive affair.
The Hackwood Stakes has been run under several different names but was first run in 1986 before earning its current Group 3 status in 2006. It is run over 6 furlongs and 8 yards and is open to horses aged three or older. Some decent horses have won past renewals, including Keen Hunter, Lake Coniston, Invincible Spirit, Somnus, Pastoral Pursuits, Deacon Blue, and the 2016 Hackwood Stakes winner The Tin Man.
There are also several highly-rated runners in this year’s entries, including the likes of Invincible Army, Bacchus, Emblazoned, Hey Jonesy, and Projection. However, it could be worth giving a second-chance to Equilateral as the Charlie Hills stable appeared out of form when this potentially top-class coly disappointed in the Commonwealth Cup. Hills has also won two of the last three renewals with Magic Memory and Strath Burn.
Curragh Saturday 21 July
The Irish Oaks is the fourth Irish Classic of the season and it is run over 12 furlongs. It was first run in 1895 and there have been some outstanding English-trained winners of the race over the last few decades. They include User Friendly, Ramruna, Ouija Board, Sariska, Snow Fairy, and Enable. Indeed, English trainers have an outstanding recent record in the race with five winners in the last nine years, even outshining Aidan O’Brien who has trained three of the last 10 winners.
It’s O’Brien that has the early market favourite though in the shape of Magic Wand, who impressed when winning at Royal Ascot last month. However, she could face the proven Group 1 performer Laurens, as well as the untapped potential of Sea Of Class. Forever Together, Hadith, Lah Ti Dar, and Wild Illusion are other interesting possible contenders.