Thirty one horses stand their ground at the five-day stage of the Group 3 Coolmore U S Navy Flag Concorde Stakes at Tipperary and it is no surprise that champion trainer, Aidan O’Brien has a quartet that may take their chances as his local track celebrates its Super Sunday.
One of the most important days on the Tipperary calendar also includes a trio of Grade 3 National Hunt contests and Gordon Elliott is among those heavily represented in the Woodlands House Hotel Novice Hurdle, the Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle and the O’Dwyer Steel Dundrum Novice Chase, with triple Grade 1 winner Abacadabras in line to get his season under way against some talented rivals.
Current Option is one of two potential Ado McGuiness contestants in the Group 3 Coolmore U S Navy Flag Concorde Stakes. The 2020 victor is attempting to emulate Kings River, Wizard King and Yulong Gold Fairy by becoming a dual winner.
It is one of Joseph O’Brien’s quintet, Snapraeterea that is the highest-rated horse still remaining. His father’s charges, Glounthaune and New York City would be very competitive on their marks too were they to run.
Having never raced over further than six furlongs, New York City may not take up this seven-and-a-half-furlong engagement but O’Brien Snr has given himself options with Group 2 Boomerang Mile runner-up Glounthaune, Galleria Borghese, who finished third in the Group 2 Blandford Stakes and was fifth in the Group 3 Coolmore Stud No Nay Never Fairy Bridge Stakes over course and distance prior to that, and Prettiest also possible participants.
“Galleria Borghese could go to Tipperary for the Concorde,” said Aidan O’Brien this afternoon. “She was a little disappointing in Gowran (when 14th of 16 in a Group 3) but we probably ran her back too early after the Blandford and she’s back in good form again.
“We’ve been very happy with Glounthaune since he ran so well to be second in the Boomerang Mile at Leopardstown over Irish Champions Weekend. He also has the option of the mile group race (Prix Daniel Wildenstein) in Longchamp on Saturday but we’ll decide on that in the morning.
“New York City is in good form after finishing fourth in the Flying Five at Irish Champions Weekend and it’s more probable that he will go for the Abbaye on Sunday.
“Prettiest is in good order but after running at Cork today, it’s unlikely she’ll bounce out again so quick but we’ll see how she comes out of it before making a definite call on it.”
Ger Lyons, who won the Coolmore U S Navy Flag Concorde Stakes last year with Maker Of Kings, has six that stand their ground, including the Group 3 Gladness Stakes 1-2 of Markaz Paname and Sh Boom. Another of Joseph O’Brien’s team, Thunder Moon was third at The Curragh on that occasion and may also reoppose.
Abacadabras has been off the track since finishing fifth in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown over three miles last December but is the standout of the nine entrants in the Grade 3 Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle as a horse with the Morgiana and Aintree Hurdles on his CV.
“Abacadabras is a classy horse,” said Elliott today. “Sunday looked like a good starting point for him. He hasn’t run since Christmas so I’m sure he’d come on for it but he has been in a bit earlier than the other winter horses so he’ll take his chance and see how we get on. He has the option to go chasing this season so we'll see how Sunday goes. "He’s a Grade 1 horse on his day and he’s only eight so I’d be hoping we can have a bit of fun with him this season.”
Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Anna Bunina (John McConnell) also stands her ground while the Henry de Bromhead-trained Grade 3 winner Jason The Militant could make his first appearance over hurdles since finishing third to Saldier in this contest 12 months ago.
McConnell said of his stable star: "Anna Bunina has a few options but we are considering Tipperary on Sunday. She is rated 140 so she wouldn't be without her chance. We had a great day with her in Killarney last month when (my son) Cillian won on her and she's in good form at the moment."
Boodles Juvenile Hurdle victor Brazil is doubly-booked by Pádraig Roche but the Grade Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Novice Hurdle seems a more likely destination for the four-year-old. Potential opposition among the 15 includes Willie Mullins trio Champ Kiely, Champagne Problem and Gaelic Arc. Henry de Bromhead pair Marvel De Cerisy and Rioga Choice are others with winning brackets that could target the prestigious prize.
The in-form The Friday Man is a possible runner for Elliott, having won four times since June, including by nine lengths at Navan 10 days ago.
“The Friday Man has been in great form all summer,” noted the Cullentra House trainer. “He seems to be fairly versatile on the ground but maybe he might want a bit further than two miles as he steps up in grade. He couldn’t have done much more so far, winning his bumper and three times over hurdles.
“We got a great kick out of him winning his bumper at Tramore giving Lisa (O’Neill) her last winner on her last ride.
“It is always a decent race but it might guide us a bit on where he goes for the rest of the season if we do decide to run him.”
Elliott could point Galway Plate fourth, Ash Tree Meadow and Call Me Lyreen at the Grade 3 O’Dwyer Steel Dundrum Novice Chase.
“Ash Tree Meadow had a good summer, winning three on the bounce, and we were delighted with him in the Galway Plate. I don’t think the form of that race was done any harm last week at Listowel so he’s a nice novice hopefully.
“Call Me Lyreen has come out of his fall at Listowel fine and he looked like he was going to run a nice race so we’ll see how he is over the next couple of days and make a plan then.”
Authorized Art, Jon Snow and Rambranlt’jac stand their ground for Willie Mullins, with Francis Casey’s talented chaser Max Flamingo is also a potential runner.
Andrew Hogan, Manager of Tipperary Racecourse, said: “Super Sunday is the highlight of our year, featuring three Grade 3s of jumps and a Group 3 on the flat that have clearly attracted some of the best horses around. The main races are the Grade 3 Horse & Jockey Hotel Hurdle, the Grade 3 Fitzgerald’s Woodlands Hotel Adare Novice Hurdle, the Grade 3 O’Dwyer Steel Dundrum Novice Chase and the Group 3 Coolmore US Navy Flag Concorde Stakes and we are delighted with the high calibre of entries. It is shaping up to be a wonderful day’s racing.”
Other valued sponsors on the card are The Peppermill Restaurant Nenagh, Racing TV and Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund.
While restaurant packages have been sold out, the Bulmers Bundle remains available. At a price of €29 it includes admission, a race card, a pint, €10 food voucher and €5 tote voucher. General admission is €15 online and €20 on the gate.
There will be plenty of entertainment on the day with the CJ Kickham Brass Band playing on arrival. Live music in the Bulmers Marquee will come from Marvel Tones, followed by Handipak.
There is a pet farm and playground for the children while the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be played on the big screen for patrons. Parking is free and the racecourse is just a five minute walk from Limerick Junction Train Station. There is a bus stop directly outside the front of Tipperary Racecourse.
Gates open at 11am with first race 1.15pm and the last race at 5.20pm.
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